Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Books About the Titanic

The Titanic has captured the imagination of Bookworm2 (age 5) of late. I'm not sure why, exactly. He likes hearing about the disaster and also about finding the treasure which is this famed ocean liner and its contents at the bottom of the ocean. It's almost like the treasure hunter has been awakened within him. The other day he asked me the following question:

Mommy, we only have three books about the Titanic. Can you get some more?

That's pretty much an "ask and you shall receive" type of question. My quest to find books about the Titanic that are age appropriate is in full swing!

I asked my friend Joy to review the following title which is newly release from Scholastic and she happily obliged. Her thoughts:


The Titanic seems to be an endlessly fascinating topic. Countless books have been written on what was one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era. Movies, fictional and narrative (is this the word I want?), have been made resurrecting the “Unsinkable Ship.” Is there anything that can be added to the existing cannon? Titanic: Voices From the Disaster, written by Deborah Hopkinson, gives an interesting perspective by recounting the days and events surrounding the disaster from the points of view of individuals who lived through them. The voices range from aristocrats on a pleasure cruise, to poor immigrants hoping for a better life in the new world, to crew members who had been with the White Star Line for years. The book is also full of pictures, an essential element to this sort of book, including the only photos taken by a passenger on the ship that have survived. (Most interior pictures shown of the ship are actually photos of its sister ship, the Olympic.)

Titanic: Voices From the Disaster is written for late elementary to middle school readers, though it is an interesting read for adult readers as well. It would be a good resource for home-school teaching, and its bibliography is extensive and useful for further research on the subject. This book is arranged chronologically and clearly outlines what led up to the disaster and how it could have been avoided. One of the hard things about reading this book is how frequently preventable mistakes are revealed, any of which would have greatly reduced if not entirely averted the tragedy, i.e., if the ship had rammed the iceberg head on instead of scrapping along the side of it, or if the communications operator of a neighboring ship would not have turned off his equipment and gone to sleep, or, greatest of all, if the ship had been provided with enough lifeboats for all on board! However, to some extent, the tragedy is shown to have caused a great many improvements in the policies of cruise lines, disaster response, and shipping in general. It exposed how the regulations concerning safety measures on passenger ships were greatly out of date and is directly responsible for all ships now providing emergency equipment for every person on board. There were many times, though, when I had to put the book aside because the enormity of the useless loss of life was overwhelming. In particular, hearing from people who actually survived and endured the grief of losing their loved ones almost before their eyes, of families having to decide whether to send a few members to safety or all die together, made the stories, heard many times before (and almost glorified sometimes), become much more real and personal.

Many thanks to Scholastic who sent a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. We have received no additional compensation for this thoughts and all of the opinions expressed are our own.


As Joy says, the above book is great for middle school or high schoolers but not as helpful to younger kids. (This has not prevented my little bookworm from looking through the book for picture sake though!)

Bookworm2 has very much enjoyed the Scholastic Level 3 reader, Titanic: Disaster at Sea, by Sean Callery. We've read this book aloud to him numerous times and it has yet to grow old.

This book is laid out in the typical manner for Scholastic's easy readers. Per usual, there are a lot of full-color illustrations and also photographs from the ship itself. The text is in large font and there are only 3-4 paragraphs of information per page making it an easy read but also an informative one. I found this title to be much more age appropriate and, as I say, he has enjoyed it.

He has also enjoyed looking through our copy of T is for Titanic (Sleeping Bear Press).

Now I'm on the lookout for additional titles. Might you have any to suggest?


Other books about the Titanic for adult readers:


Monica said...

{{sigh}} oh yes, our son is almost 16 and has had an infatuation with Titanic for years! He just can't get enough of it. I guess I am glad that it is Titanic and not some other crazy modern thing going on... :)

Shonya said...

Oh! What's that one from the stuffed animal's perspective? !

Shonya said...

Polar, the Titanic Bear

Sarah M. said...

Curious how he first learned of the disaster. Was it reading you did with him or did he stumble upon a book?

I was about that age, 6 I think, when I first learned about the Titanic. I saw a National Geographic film on the discovery of the Titanic. (I believe it was this one: The ship was discovered when I was 5 so this was a recent film at the time. Anyway, it began a life-long fascination with the whole topic. Not sure why, it's a tragedy and I generally don't like tragedy, but I can't help it.

Thanks for sharing these books. You might look for the National Geographic film - maybe it's on YouTube for post reading if you and Bookworm are interested.

Sherry said...

I second "Polar, the Titanic Bear" for children.
We've had years of "Titanic fanatics" in our home and it's been a fascinating subject to explore. Also recommend "Exploring the Titanic" by Robert Ballard, though it is probably a bit wordy for Bookworm2. It probably follows the National Geographic film that Sarah mentioned. I think that's the one we checked out from the library.

You might have to visit the exhibit in CA :) We really liked the traveling exhibit at OMSI years ago. The full museum in TN was tops!

Rainbow said...

The Titanic..Lost and Found by Donnelly

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