Might I suggest this book: “The Boy Who Saved Cleveland,” by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Michael Dooling. It’s a chapter book for early readers, and is based on a true story. In the settlement of Cleveland, Ohio, Seth Doan’s family farms the land. An outbreak of malaria hits Seth’s family and all of their neighbors. While the adults are ill with malaria, Seth takes over the very adult tasks of carrying and grinding corn to keep his family and their friends fed.
“The Boy Who Saved Cleveland” is a great way to introduce the subject of malaria to a group of youth. It describes the symptoms and relates them to likable characters. It brings one story of malaria to life, and will doubtlessly engender interest in other, contemporary stories — stories of our brothers and sister in Africa who struggle with the daily realities of malaria.
(Note: while malaria used to be prevalent in the Unites States, it has been very nearly eradicated here since the 1950’s.)