Ring a Ring o’Roses

There was recently a whole slew of grade eight boys in the library looking for books on the Black Plague for a research project.

Why am I even mentioning this?

Because I love reading about this subject.  I’m on my way to being one of those “weird” experts that you always see interviewed in documentaries.  You know the ones… they don’t have a degree in the subject area (history or epidemiology in this case), they’ve spent all of their free time and money on research… that sort of thing…

Anyways, I decided to make a list of my top Plague reads for grades 10+.

  1. A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe
  2. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
  3. In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It Made by Norman Cantor
  4. The Fourth Horseman: A Short History of Epidemics, Plagues, Famine and Other Scourges by Andrew Nikiforuk
  5. The Plague Tales by Ann Benson
  6. Dread by Philip Alcabes
  7. The Black Death by Philip Ziegler

The popular nursery rhyme “Ring a Ring o’ Roses” is attributed to the Plague years in London in the mid 17th century.  The “Ring o’ Roses” refers to the rash that victims of the plague acquired during the illness.  The “pocket full o’ posies” refers to the herbs that were carried by people in satchels in order to ward away the Plague.  Very interesting stuff!

Ring-a-Ring o’Rosies
A Pocket full of Posies
“A-tishoo! A-tishoo!”
We all fall Down!





For younger kids (those in the middle grades), point them towards these great books!

  1. Europe in the High Middle Ages by William Jordan
  2. All About the Black Plague by Pam Robson
  3. The Black Death by Louise Slavicek
  4. The Black Death by James Day




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