Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Spring 2012 Non-Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0545116749
Hardcover Price: $17.99

Award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson presents an engaging narrative-driven story about an endlessly fascinating subject in Voices from the Disaster.

It's a collage, of sorts - the Titanic's journey from confident launch to its end, as seen through the eyes of a variety of witnesses. The story is told from the view of the ship's captain and crew, observations from the crews of other ships, and, of course, the surviving passengers. Their experiences are markedly different.

Particularly engaging, and chilling, are the moments just after the iceberg is struck. Most passengers are unaware anything has happened, and among the crew there is denial, mild confusion, even joking around. Initial reports of damage were mild.

Some third-class passengers woke to water seeping in beneath their doors, but most were undisturbed. The eerie calm of a father and son donning robes to take a peek at what they think may be a slight glitch, is heart-stopping.

The passages recreating the ship's 11:40 pm collision, until shortly after 2am when it sinks are riveting and sometimes difficult to read. The horror still feels fresh. Families are split apart, with hardly a goodbye. Engineers work below deck to the very end to keep the ship lit and continue signaling for help. Hopkinson puts names and faces to the stories, and in that way makes this well-mined material come alive again.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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