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13 / 30 books. 43% done!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Middle Grade Disaster Series Asks: Are You A Survivor?

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Ten-year-old George Calder doesn't mean to get himself into scrapes all the time - it just kind of happens. His curiousity gets the best of him in the most normal of circumstances, but now he's aboard the largest moving object ever built. How can he possibly resist sliding down the banister of the Grand Staircase, sneaking among the immigrants on the lower decks, and creeping into the storage room to see if the rumors about an Egyptian mummy on board are really true? Even with his younger sister, Phoebe, and their recently-widowed aunt keeping their sharp eyes on him, George is determined to explore every inch of the Titanic.
When George sets out on one of his escapades on the night of April 15, he has know idea that it will lead to the most horrifyingly exciting adventure of his life. He's prowling through the ship's underbelly when the great Titanic starts to shake. As he scuttles back to First Class, he hears the news: they've nudged an iceberg. What begins with laughter and snowball fights soon turns into running, screaming, and all-out panic. The ship is sinking. George is not only a child, but a wealthy one. Unlike the lower-class passengers, he has both a life jacket and an escort to where women and kids are being packed into life boats. There's only one problem - his sister is missing. He can't leave her on the doomed ship. He has to find her, no matter what.

As the story of the Titanic unfolds through the eyes of young George, the reader can't help but be swept away in all the terror of that fateful night. We know how the story ends (at least what happens to the ship), but even after all this time, it's an incredible tale. George Calder did not really exist, but he represents the many passengers who scrambled for their lives while the "unsinkable" Titanic plunged to its watery death. Through him, we're there. His story resounds with one chilling question: Would I have survived?

Written for middle-grade readers, I Survived: The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 is the first in a series of books by Lauren Tarshis about children surviving infamous historical disasters. The next one (available now) concerns shark attacks in 1916 and will be followed by I Survived: Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (available March 2011). My kids and I agree that we need keep our eyes on this exciting, informative and well-written series. You can check it out for yourself on the I Survived website. Oh, and if your school happens to be in the throes of Scholastic Book Fair mania, these books should be available and would make good picks for classrooms, homes and school libraries. 'Course, surviving the Titanic's nothing compared to getting through a school book fair unscathed - if you can survive that particular adventure, you might just deserve a medal :)

(Readalikes: I can't think of any other children's books I've read about the Titanic. Can you?)

Grade: B

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for intense/scary scenes (the book's written for younger middle graders)

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of this book from the very generous folks at Scholastic. Thank you!


  1. This sounds like a good series--educational as well! I like that. Kind of like "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas"?

  2. My bookfair starts November 1 -- wish me luck!!

  3. K & G - Yes,definitely educational, but these books are not at all like BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, which is more of an adult book written in a purposely child-like, highly-nuanced way. These books really are for kids, like 2nd - 5th grade.

    Annette - Good luck!

  4. Sounds great, thanks!

  5. I have an award for u!



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