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Books About Germs, Handwashing & Viruses

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Five Books That Explain Germs, Hand Washing & Viruses

Topics of germs and the importance of hand washing are not always easy for children to understand. BooksForTopics founder Alison Leach has picked out five books that help to address these concepts with children.

Elizabeth Verdick
 & Marieka Heinlen

A simple but very effective guide for younger children, covering good personal hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of germs. The book covers what to do after you sneeze, cough, blow your nose, drop food on the floor and use the toilet. With cartoon-like illustrations and a repeated refrain of ‘germs are not for sharing’, this is the essential hygiene book to have in every EYFS and reception class.

Tony Ross

The Little Princess doesn’t want to wash her hands – not after playing outside, not after using her potty and not after sneezing! But when she hears about ‘germs and nasties’ from the family maid, the Little Princess begins to think that there might be something even worse waiting for her if she doesn’t head towards soap and water soon…

A useful picture book for discussing the when and why of handwashing, from Tony Ross’s popular Little Princess series.

Idan Ben-Barak
 & Julian Frost

A humorous and interactive picture book that explains what microbes are, with images that demonstrate how easy it is for you to pick up and transfer germs when you touch different objects with your fingers. Touch the book to ‘pick up’ Min the Microbe (actually an E-Coli) and imagine transferring her to your teeth, clothes and belly button, while picking up a host of other tiny microbe friends along the way. Readers see each new location for the germs in fascinating zoomed-in photos. This giggle-worthy book caters to all ages and introduces the science of microbes to children in an engaging way – a good choice for school assembly if you have a visualizer to hand. Just don’t let readers really lick it, however tempted they might be!

Katie Daynes
 & Marta Alvarez Miguens

A hardback non-fiction book from Usborne’s interactive lift-the-flap series, exploring the topic of germs through bite-sized question-and-answer chunks. Written with advice from Public Health England, it’s an attractive book that is useful for addressing queries, ‘just-wonderings’ and misconceptions about germs. By learning what germs are, where they live and how they behave, young readers can also learn how to prevent germs from spreading between people and the book includes top tips about staying healthy and hygienic.

Steve Mould

A favourite non-fiction pick from our 50 Recommended Reads for Year 5 booklist, this a suitable book for helping children aged 7-11 to learn about the science of bacteria, viruses and microbes. The book is packed with information, diagrams and photographs covering different areas of microbiology in a child-friendly way, including how germs behave, why microbes are important, how viral infections spread and how our bodies fight viruses.

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