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Titanic: Voices From the Disaster Hardcover – April 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-Hopkinson offers a thorough account (Scholastic, 2012) of the April 15, 1912 sinking of the Titantic. Background information is interspersed with stories of survivors and witnesses, including primary source quotes. The author weaves together the voices of children, passengers in all classes, the captain, and crew members to provide a unique account of the tragedy. What makes this chronicle of events unique is the direct quotes from survivors which are seamlessly inserted throughout and successfully handled by talented voice actors Mark Bramhall, Peter Altschuler, and others. Listeners will be enthralled by the effective use of personal details. Have the print version available so listeners can peruse the photos, art work, diagrams, and maps.-Mary Medinsky, Red Deer College, Alberta, Canadaα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


Awards and Praise for SHUTTING OUT THE SKY:
Bank Street College Best Book
BOOK LINKS "Lasting Connections"
BOOKLIST Editors' Choice
CCBC CHOICES selection
IRA Teacher's Choice
James Madison Book Award, 2004
Jane Addams Peace Award Honor
NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor
NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
NYPL Book for the Teen Age
Sydney Taylor Notable Book
"[A]n excellent model of historical writing. Hopkinson's enthusiasm for research, primary sources, and individual stories that make history come alive is evident throughout this excellent work. Nonfiction at its best. . . ." --KIRKUS (starred review)
"Meticulous documentation, including full chapter notes, will help the many young people--and their parents and grandparents--who will want to know more and to research their own family roots." --BOOKLIST (starred review)

ALA Notable Children's Book
Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year, 2007
Carter G. Woodson Book Awards Honor Award, 2007
IRA Notable Books for a Global Society
Skipping Stones Honor Award
YALSA Best Book for Young Adults

"This volume, like the author's SHUTTING OUT THE SKY (2003), is a model of superb nonfiction writing and how to use primary sources to create engaging narratives. The prose is clear, the documentation excellent and well-selected photographs support the text beautifully. What might have been a dry topic is lively, the voices of the children vivid and personal." -- KIRKUS
Stories of real people, such as mill girl Lucy Larcom who escaped the "incessant clash" of the looms to become a famous poet, sharply focus the dramatic history, as do arresting archival photos of stern youngsters manipulating hoes, cotton sags, or bobbins. Neither too long nor too dense, this won't intimidate students reluctantly tackling research projects, and teachers and children alike will welcome the concluding list of suggested readings for youth, the scholarly bibliography, and thorough endnotes. Rarely have the links between northern industry, southern agriculture, slavery, war, child labor, and poverty been so skillfully distilled for this audience." -- BOOKLIST

In what’s sure to be a definitive work commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Hopkinson offers a well-researched and fascinating account of the disaster.

On Monday, April 15th, 1912, the magnificent Titanic sank after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Of the 2,208 people on board, only 712 survived. It’s a well-known story, though maybe not to young readers, who, if anything, might have seen the movie. Hopkinson orchestrates a wealth of material here, using a third-person narrative voice to tell the story while incorporating eyewitness accounts of people on the “most luxurious ship the world had ever seen.” A huge number of archival photographs and reproductions of telegrams, maps, letters, illustrations, sidebars and even a dinner menu complement the text, yielding a volume as interesting for browsing as for through-reading. The voices include a stewardess, a science teacher, a 9-year-old boy, the ship’s designer, the captain and a mother on her way to a new life in America. Best of all is the author’s spirit: She encourages readers to think like historians and wonder what it would have been like on the Titanic and imagine each character’s story. Fifty pages of backmatter will inform and guide readers who want to know even more.

A thorough and absorbing recreation of the ill-fated voyage.(Nonfiction. 8-16)

-Kirkus Reviews January 1, 2012

As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, there is a whole new output of books reexamining and updating the information about the tragedy. This one weaves together the memories and writing of the survivors, and what makes it stand out is the intimacy readers feel for the crew and passengers. The story itself hasn’t changed, but through Hopkinson’s work, young people get to know and care deeply about the people involved. Children, stewards, officers, and passengers from all three class designations are included, and their stories combine to recount the events of that fateful April night. Readers with even a passing knowledge of the Titanic will find themselves drawn into the drama and heartbroken at the inevitable end. Period photographs, artwork, diagrams, and maps appear throughout to illustrate points and help clarify events. Traditionally accepted details about the ship from its construction to its luxurious appointments, are discussed, and some of the controversies that have arisen since the wreck was found, but the real focus here is on the people and the narrative. Students looking for real-life drama will find this an absorbing and richly satisfying read.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

-School Library Journal, February 2012

Hopkinson knows precisely what’s she doing in her coverage of the Titanic disaster: providing young readers with a basic introduction to the event without overdramatizing, drawing unwarranted conclusions, or prolonging the ordeal. She begins her account as the ship embarks on its maiden voyage and, once it sets sail, flashes back to cover its construction and grandeur as well as some of the crew’s responsibilities, which play major roles in the sinking of the ship and the rescue of the passengers. Hopkinson also introduces her “characters,” real survivors whose voices relay many of the subsequent events. She includes crew members as well as those traveling in first, second, and third class, showing both the contrasts between them as the voyage begins and the horror that binds them by night’s end. In this admirably restrained account, Hopkinson covers, but doesn’t dwell upon, the foreshadowing of iceberg reports, the heartbreaking choices in boarding the (too few) lifeboats, and the agony of those dying in the freezing water. For interested readers who want to read in more detail, Hopkinson includes comprehensive chapter notes, a listing of sources, and questions to get young people started on their own Titanic quests. Archival photographs, a timeline, a selected list of facts, short biographies of those mentioned, excerpts from selected survivor letters, a glossary, and an unseen index complete this fine book.

-Betty Carter, Horn Book Reviews, March/April 2012

Hopkinson puts a human face on the Titanic’s sinking in this riveting nonfiction chronicle of the ship’s collision with an iceberg and the tragic aftermath. She threads together the stories of many passengers and crew members, focusing on a handful of survivors that includes an Argentine-born stewardess, a rambunctious nine-year-old British boy, a science teacher from England, and an American teenager traveling with his parents. The author quotes these four and others freely, their voices forming a deeply intimate account of the tragedy. Hopkinson packs her thoroughly researched story with a wealth of information about the ship itself (this book is an invaluable resource for students), and her portraits of the shipmates are fully realized and often heartbreaking. Chapters detailing the sinking, the scramble for lifeboats, and the harrowing wait for the Carpathia’s arrival are fast-paced and riveting. Photos of the ship, the (purported) iceberg, telegrams sent to and from the Titanic, and of the survivors’ rescue add significant context and amplify the immediacy of the drama. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House.

-Publisher's Weekly February 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545116740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545116749
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was over halfway through this book when I realized it was meant for a younger audience. I saw it on display with other Titanic books at the library, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking, and thought it looked like a good book. But even if it is geared towards a younger crowd, even an adult Titanic buff can appreciate it. So many people were on board, and there are still so many angles to the ship's construction, the early days before it sailed from Queenstown into the Atlantic, the people who were on board, the sinking, the rescue of the survivors, the aftermath, and the ship's discovery decades later. There's always a new way to approach the material and provide new insights and unearthed facts. People who claim that there are "too many" books about the Titanic (or any other popular era or topic in history, like World War II) either aren't reading enough variety on the subject, or don't realize it's not "the same old story told a hundred ways."

I loved all the pictures in this book, particularly from future priest Frank Brown, a shutterbug who got a first-class ticket for the ship's two-day maiden voyage as a present from an uncle. These pictures are such priceless artifacts, documenting the ship in ways we might never have known merely from written descriptions. Also nice were the inclusion of materials like telegrams, tickets, menus, and witness testimonies. They add so much to the historical narrative. I also like how there was some information on the building of the ship, the White Star line, the Harland and Wolff shipbuilding company, and what led up to building such a gigantic luxury ship. It's always good to have some backstory, since events don't happen overnight or in a vacuum.
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Format: Hardcover
This and more questions are answered in this fascinating book that reveals intimate details through the voices of the passengers' and crew's last days and moments before the horrific and haunting accident that was the Titanic. Posing captains, working crewmembers, exercising, dancing or relaxing passengers are brought to life in the photos, logbooks, letters, headlines and telegrams that occupy nearly half the book. Hopkinson has recreated a scrapbook-like diary of the life and death of the Titanic that will captivate all readers 3rd grade and up.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding non-fiction book filled with first-person accounts and records from the sinking of the Titanic. It follows a number of people including first, second, and third class individuals and staff through a chronological order of events. Some of those people are young adults and it's refreshing to hear their point-of-view. The book has numerous documents including a menu, photos, launch information, letters, facts and figures, and information on the Carpathia, the ship that came to rescue the Titanic. It seems well researched, documented, and thorough in its account and easy to read. I learned a lot of new information from this book. Though I would hardly say I'm an expert on the Titanic, I certainly have read other books and enjoyed seeing some documentaries. This book definitely adds new information to what's already out there. I believe this is an outstanding book to include in libraries and schools and for Titanic history buffs. Definitely recommend!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an introduction to the disaster and to just a few of the people who survived, about their background, how they reacted during the sinking and after being rescued, and how the disaster affected their life. I was impressed with the remarks about "the people in this book" which mentioned the most well-known facts of the survivors e.g. On the movie set of "A Night to Remember" (1958), Lawrence Beesley (2nd class passenger) attempted to enter the action and "go down with the ship" but was stopped by the director; J. Bruce Ismay (the managing director of White Star Line) at the time of the Titanic's sinking, he famously jumped into Collapsible C, for which he was widely criticized at the time; Ida and Isidor Straus were 1st class passengers who became famous for their devotion to each other and their decision to stay together when the Titanic sank...

This book is as much for people who know a lot about the Titanic disaster as it is for those who know very little about it. It is informative yet easy to read. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am very pleased with the text but a bit disappointed by the lack of photographs. I purchased this book for a friend as a gift and am very glad that I purchased two other volumes which were mainly photographic in nature to accompany this volume. I will say that since I purchased the other two books, it wasn't quite the disappointment it would have been if I had only purchased this one book. Great for reading but if you want photographs, look elsewhere.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love all Titanic! This was wonderful and my kids are reading it on. After we will watch the movie and go to the Titanic exhibit. I never knew a ship was only 20 miles away but wasn't checking their messages. So sad!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would say this is definitely light reading. There was nothing new here, and it could have used more depth in developing the characters. If you have never read anything about the Titanic and her passengers, this is a good place to start. If you have read other books on this subject, skip this one.
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