Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 27, 2021

Book Giveaway: JUNE ALMEIDA, VIRUS DETECTIVE! by Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade has written a new picture book, JUNE ALMEIDA, VIRUS DETECTIVE! illustrated by Elisa Paganelli and published by Sleeping Bear Press. It is available in bookstores now. SBP has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Suzanne and Elisa.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


June Almeida loved learning about science and nature. An excellent student, she was especially interested in biology and won the top science prize at her school. Creative and observant, June noticed details that others often missed. She dreamed of attending university but economic hardships caused her to leave school at age 16. Still, June was determined to pursue her passion for science. She was hired by a local hospital to work in its lab, using a microscope to magnify and examine cells. Her work helped doctors treat patients. June later worked in labs in London and in Toronto. Her skill in using the electron microscope to examine cells and help identify viruses earned her promotion and respect in the science community. When June was 34 years old, she discovered the first human coronavirus. Her groundbreaking work continues to help researchers today in the fight against illnesses caused by viruses, including COVID-19.


Discovering June Almeida: I never know when a book idea will find me. And I certainly wasn’t looking for a new book project in the spring of 2019 when the pandemic first began. I was too busy trying to find toilet paper and cleaning my groceries so I didn’t bring any dangerous coronavirus particles into our home.

Like most people around the world, I was scrambling to make sense of this evolving situation. So I read lots of news articles trying to learn more about this new virus and the disease it caused, Covid-19.

On April 17, I stumbled upon across a shocking article. It explained that coronaviruses weren’t new at all. In fact, the first human coronavirus was discovered back in 1964. Even more surprising—by a woman who’d never attended college. Her name was June Almeida. Why have I never heard of her? I wondered. The article went on to share that June had made many groundbreaking science discoveries, yet she’d been overlooked by historians.

And there it was—my next book!

That day, I began my research and went hunting for primary sources. I soon learned June had one daughter, Joyce Almeida. Joyce had little internet presence and she lived in England. So I reached out to an organization that had recently worked with Joyce and they forwarded my email to her. The next day Joyce responded.

iI told Joyce I’d like to share her mother’s inspiring life story with young readers, and she kindly sent back priceless source materials: marvelous photos of June at work, science papers she’d written, June’s official CV, and much more. Over time, Joyce and I developed a friendship. She kindly answered questions about her mother’s work, and shared details about her personal qualities, interests, and hobbies.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find a publisher who was as excited as I was about sharing June’s amazing story. The publisher was ready to move mountains to get the book out as soon as possible. So, thanks to the phenomenal team at Sleeping Bear Press, and illustrator extraordinaire, Elisa Paganelli, June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus released March 15, 2021 (11 months after June’s story idea found me.) And the book couldn’t have turned out better!

In June Almeida’s story, readers discover that June faced many obstacles, yet she continued to pursue her passion for science. A brilliant virologist, June went on to find the first human coronavirus, and her work is now helping in the fight against Covid-19. I hope June Almeida, Virus Detective! inspires readers to go after their dreams and make a difference in the world.


In college Suzanne studied engineering. After graduation, she worked on car brakes and Delta and Titan rockets. Suzanne says, “Working in engineering was exciting!” Years later she went to Paris, France with her husband for work. One day, they got a call that a special baby had been born. So they flew home and adopted their daughter. Soon, along came their son. She read piles of picture books to her children and decided to write children’s books.

It took over 8 years and 80 rejection letters before her first book was published, but hopes to keep writing books for a long time!

Now, Suzanne is a Sibert Honor author and has written more than 100 books. She uses her engineering degree to write about groundbreaking women in science, such as A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon (NSTA/CBC Best STEM Book) and Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story (NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book). Suzanne’s book Astronaut Annie was read by astronaut Anne McClain aboard the International Space Station for Story Time From Space. You can learn more more about her at:


I was born in Modena (Italy) in 1985, and since childhood I cannot resist the smell of paper and pencils.
I attended the Institute of Art and subsequently graduated from the European Institute of Design (IED) in Turin with a degree in illustration.
As a post-grad, I worked as an Art director in a communication and advertising agency, and also ran a successful design concept store/studio for six years, which made me win the Ascom Confcommercio award “The idea becomes Enterprise” and CNA “Emerging Women” award.

I now live and work in UK as a freelance Illustrator and Creative Designer, accompanied by my beloved pets.

I devote most of the time to my passion for images and words and my research aim to explore and experiment always moving beyond my comfort zone.
I love quietness, the wind and I feel home when in the wild nature. On my bedside table you’ll find a pile of psychology and philosophy books, and sometimes one of my cats.
In the future I’d like to work on projects linked to mental health and environment.

Thank you Suzanne for sharing your book and your journey with us. I loved learning about June and I love how you found the story for this book and the research that went into bring the story to life. It is a very inspiraing story with wonderful illustrations done by Elisa Paganelli. So glad she could ad her talent to this project. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Wow! What a timely and important subject, Suzanne. Congratulations on your new book!


  2. Reblogged this on Terry Pierce and commented:

    Terrific STEM book giveaway over on Writing & Illustrating!


  3. So excited for this book. I love science and add a female in the field and I am so there. In 5/6 grade they do a paper on a scientist. Love having female for them to choose. Congratulations 🎈🎉


  4. What an interesting and timely story! Thank you for sharing it! Kathy, I am a newsletter subscriber 🙂


  5. This book sounds amazing, can’t wait to check it out!


  6. Sounds like an excellent story. I’d love to have a copy.
    I tweeted:, and shared:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com.
    Thanks, have a great day!


  7. This book is high on my TBR list! Impressive that it was published so quickly.


  8. I’ve requested this book from my library because I too was amazed that not only had coronaviruses been discovered a long time ago, but they were discovered by a woman. Thank you for sharing your researching process with us–it’s incredible that you were able to find her daughter. I’m an email subscriber and shared on social:


  9. What a timely book. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for sharing your book journey.


  10. Wow, looking forward to reading this. I love to learn about “fascinating women history forgot” and this looks like a great story to share with people (young & OLD!)


  11. What an incredible story- both about June Almeida and the writing and publication of her biography. Can’t wait to read it.
    (blog follower)


  12. This sounds like a terrific and timely book. I follow your blog by email. Thanks for the post.


  13. What a fascinating story! And such an inspiration for budding scientists everywhere!


  14. Congrats, Suzanne and Elisa! (I’m signed up for the emails, too.)


  15. What a great story, and how neat to have discovered her daughter! Congrats!


  16. What a fascinating story! I’m thrilled that readers will learn about this amazing scientist! I love the fact that Suzanne was able to find the daughter of this incredible woman. (Blog follower)


  17. What an inspiring story! Congratulations on this timely book which I’m sure will be a wonderful addition to everyone’s library! I’m a huge STEM book fan.


  18. Congrats! I can’t wait to read this inspiring book to my granddaughters. (Blog subscriber)


  19. Wow, that is an incredibly fast turn-around, congratulations Suzanne! Great work getting that research done and getting the story out. Can’t wait to read more about June Almeida! (blog subscriber)


  20. Oooh, fascinating and timely! I can’t wait to read this book! Congratulations!

    Sharing on Twitter and I follow by email. 🙂


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