Commemorating the Titanic: 100 Years Later

We’ve already mentioned several Titanic books in this blog (see Kristin’s post on the 99th anniversary of the Titanic disaster and my review of The Watch That Ends the Night).  But so many more books have come out to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking that we had to add another post on the topic.

Escaping Titanic : A Young Girl’s True Story of Survival by Marybeth Lorbiecki, illustrated by Kory S. Heinzen. 2012. Gr 1-3.

Ruth Becker was a young girl, traveling on the Titanic with her mother and two younger siblings.  After the ship hit the iceberg, they went up on the deck, and because it was very cold, Ruth’s mother sent her back down to the cabin to get some blankets, thinking they had plenty of time.  Ruth returned to the deck in time to see crew members force her siblings and mother into a lifeboat; she watched as it was lowered to the sea—leaving her alone on the sinking ship.  This picture book about a real girl is gripping, and the illustrations—especially the one showing a bird’s-eye view of the ship as it sank—are riveting.

T Is for Titanic : A Titanic Alphabet by Debbie & Michael Shoulders, illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. 2011. Gr 1-5.

Like all of the alphabet books from Sleeping Bear Press, T Is for Titanic : A Titanic Alphabet can be used at different levels.  In larger font, the alphabet poem can be read to younger elementary children, while older students can discover much more information from the side panels on each page.  I really liked all the facts that go beyond what you usually see in a children’s book.  For example, I learned only recently (in an adult book) that three dogs on the Titanic survived; T Is for Titanic told me that they were two Pomeranians and a Pekinese.

Story of the Titanic by DK, illustrated by Steve Noon. 2012. Gr 5-8.

A DK classic is again in print!  The cut-away illustrations show the Titanic at different points of her short life—as she’s being built, as her passengers embark, during her short voyage, and of course after she hits the iceberg and settles lower and lower into the water.  My kids loved this type of “see-inside” book.  With the ongoing fascination with the Titanic and the upcoming anniversary, this book will not stay on your shelves very long.

Iceberg, Right Ahead! : The Tragedy of the Titanic by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson. 2011. Gr 6-9.

Iceberg, Right Ahead! provides an exceptional narrative account of the Titanic’s voyage and sinking, beginning with her construction and including a description of transatlantic travel.  McPherson incorporates personal accounts into her narrative, and provides additional information through sidebars, photographs, and diagrams.  This beautiful, fascinating book presents the latest findings of modern science, discusses mistakes that led to the disaster, and debates salvaging laws pertaining to shipwrecks.

Titanic Sinks! by Barry Denenberg. 2011. Gr 4-8.

Titanic Sinks! tells the story of the Titanic through newspaper clippings from the fictitious Modern Times, which has gathered all of its articles regarding the Titanic and published them in a magazine.  The book’s larger size and pages that look like newsprint help to solidify this approach. The format is interesting, and though the Modern Times is made-up, the facts are not.  Denenberg’s research was vigorous, and the way that he incorporated it into the articles and interviews and other formats is very effective.  And while most nonfiction books about the Titanic pad their illustrations with pictures taken in her sister ship, Olympic, Denenberg used only photos of the Titanic.

Contest reminder!  Tomorrow we will be announcing the winner of our first week’s contest.  Click here to read all about the contest and to see how to enter.

Tracey L.