Pharmacy Girl: The Great War, Spanish Influenza, and the Truth about Billy Detwiler (Paperback)

Pharmacy Girl: The Great War, Spanish Influenza, and the Truth about Billy Detwiler By Kate Szegda Cover Image
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California Reads Teacher Recommended Book


August 1918 Everybody likes twelve-year-old Josie Winslow. While she helps in the family drug store and plans for the first day of school, her pharmacist father is puzzled by newspaper articles about influenza arriving in New York on ships from Europe. It is still summer. Flu is a winter disease. He wonders if it is too early to order extra cough and cold medicine.

Billy Detwiler has been kicked out of prep school. No one, not even Billy, is happy he will be in Josie's school let alone her eighth-grade class. He is a bully of the first order and is looking for his next victim. He calls Josie "Pharmacy Girl," but it is no compliment.

By mid-October, what was once "just the flu" is now an epidemic. Doctors are baffled. Josie's father has never seen anything like it. Flu is usually only a problem for the very old or the very young. But Spanish influenza is different: it is killing young and healthy adults-like Josie's parents.

First, Josie's mother catches the deadly disease. Next, Josie's best friend is down with it too. Then Josie's little sister gets sick. But there are no effective vaccines, no ventilators, and no anti-virals to stop a pandemic.

Can Josie help the people she loves, and the bully she hates, survive?

Published before COVID and inspired by stories of the author's pharmacist grandfather, Pharmacy Girl is Kate Szegda's award-winning debut novel for middle-grade readers and people who love history.

If you like historically rich page turners and heartfelt stories of hope and resilience, you will love Pharmacy Girl.

  • California Teachers' Association, California Reads selection 2021-2022
  • Readers' Favorite International Book Award, Finalist, Children's Pre-teen Fiction 2021
  • National Federation of Press Women, 2nd Place Award for Children's Fiction 2020
  • Delaware Press Association Award, Children's Fiction 2020
  • American Book Fest, Best Book Awards, Finalist, Children's Fiction 2020
  • Moonbeam Children's Fiction Award, Silver Medal for Pre-teen Historical/Cultural Fiction 2019

Product Details
ISBN: 9781791660574
ISBN-10: 1791660576
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: February 5th, 2019
Pages: 312
Language: English