An unsinkable list of Titanic-themed reads
By Lauren on April 12th, 2011
Two weeks ago I posted about historical fiction and how much I love seeing the past through the lens of a character. In no case is this truer than the sinking of the Titanic.
There’s something about the opulence of the luxury liner, the famed travelers aboard, and how the orchestra played as the ship went down that has me forever captivated by the story of the unsinkable ship that ended up at the bottom of the ocean. (I guess this is the time to admit that I saw James Cameron’s epic movie in theaters more than once and still watch it every time I stumble across it while channel surfing.)
April 15th marks the 99th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. If you’re like me and you want to commemorate the event with some fictional passengers aboard the majestic boat, we have a bunch of great book suggestions for you.
Follow the adventures of ten-year-old George Calder and his sister Phoebe as they cross the Atlantic with their Aunt Daisy, in Lauren Tarshish’s I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic (ages 8-12). When George ventures into the first class storage cabin, a boom shakes the entire boat. Suddenly water is everywhere. Check out this video Booktalk to learn more!
Also for the middle-grade set comes a new action/adventure trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman, plunging readers right into the heart of the Titanic, called Titanic #1: Unsinkable, which hits stores this May (ages 8-12). You’ll meet Paddy, a stowaway escaping a deadly past; Sophie and her mother, who have just been arrested; Julianna, the daughter of an eccentric father whose riches barely mask his madness; and Alfie, who harbors a secret that could get him kicked off the ship. And together, these strangers are forever linked with the fate of the Titanic.
We’re big fans of the Dear America series for middle-grade readers here, as we’ve made clear! In Dear America: Voyage on the Great Titanic, Margaret Ann Brady is a young girl hired to accompany the wealthy Mrs. Carstairs aboard the luxury liner. She’s eager to get back to New York to reunite with her brother, but what happens when tragedy strikes and the ship collides with a fateful iceberg? Be sure to check out the comprehensive Dear America site, which has tons of reader and teacher activities, message boards, and more.
And finally, for teens looking for some romance weaved in with their history, look no further than bestselling author Suzanne Weyn’s Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic. (The cover alone had us hooked! Isn’t it beautiful?) Distant Waves is the story of the five Taylor sisters raised by a spiritual healer mother. On a journey from upstate New York to London, they become acquainted with some of history’s most notable figures- journalist W.T. Stead, scientist Nikola Tesla, and industrialist John Jacob Astor. Drawn to true love and scientific mysteries, the sisters find themselves aboard the Titanic… and thrust into a place in history no one will forget. Check out this book’s Booktalk and watch the video trailer here!
Scholastic.com has some useful resources for teachers and parents to use with students and kids when it comes to the history behind the Titanic — check out these book suggestions, lesson plans, and classroom activities, too.
Which Titanic-themed titles do you plan on reading? Let us know in the comments! – Lauren Felsenstein