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Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship" Kindle Edition
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YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award finalist
Golden Kite Award winner
Hornbook Fanfare selection
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year
"An exceptionally well-researched and impressively crafted tale of desperation, tragedy, and survival." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
"Extensively documented accounts tell of harrowing escapes, incredible heroism, tragic accidents, eventual rescues, and the gruesome aftermath . . . the real-time unfolding of events is compelling, and young audiences will relate to these stories about students their own age." ―Booklist, starred review, on Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
"Heiligman tells a story of bravery, courage, and despair . . . a must-read for all, and a beautiful memorial for those who perished in this tragic event."―School Library Journal, starred review, on Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
"Nonfiction maestro Heiligman here tells a riveting wartime story. . . . Heiligman builds and maintains suspense while remaining scrupulously faithful to the historical record." ―Horn Book, starred review, on Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
"[A] harrowing yet inspiring look at a little-covered historical event" ―Publishers Weekly on Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
"[R]iveting accounts of terror, death, heroism, and sacrifice, and foreshadowings of either doom or rescue give the pace a breathless urgency . . . a fascinating look at the intersections of “fate, human, error, accident, and bad luck” that so often bring about tragedy." ―The Bulletin on Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
"Heiligman explores a harrowing moment in history with clear, insightful prose." ―Shelf Awareness on Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
About the Author
- Publication Date : October 8, 2019
- File Size : 117256 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Print Length : 302 pages
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); Illustrated Edition (October 8, 2019)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07PS9HZDQ
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #417,252 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The passenger ship SS City of Benares was one of these ships. There were 406 people on board this ship. This passenger ship was torpedoed and sank in 30 minutes. Only 148 people survived. This book tells the story of many of those courageous people. It shows how hope, determination and sometimes just human decency can mean everything when it comes to survival. The author has done a tremendous amount of research and her bibliography is so informational for people like me who would like to learn more. It was truly one of the best books for kids I have read on this time period. I highly recommend it.
Chapters 1-6 introduce the reader to the time period, the context and many of the children aboard the ship City of Benares. There were ninety traveling through a government relocation program (CORB) with adult escorts and then several others traveling with family or family-hired escorts. Their families made the hard decision to send them to the safety of Canada or the U.S., away from the German bombs falling on England. The ship is a fascinating experience for the children as they wait a few days to leave and then begin the journey. Heiligman shares plenty of enchanting details about the children's enjoyment of the ship - the games they played, the endless availability of ice cream eating and so forth. Amidst her introduction to the context of the story, Heiligman also introduces the debate over how to keep this ship with so many children safe - whether the ship should identify itself as carrying so many children or not, whether it should be escorted by war ships or not, whether it should try to move away from territory where German u-boats have sunk other ships as quickly as possible or stay with the convoy. While readers learn about the context for this voyage, they also begin to notice the danger of that period and the tension.
Chapter 7 introduces the German U-boat lurking nearby.
In Chapter 8+ narrates the ship being torpedoed and what follows. Heiligman's picks up speed and FULLY CAPTIVATES THE READER for the next 200 pages! (AND just a heads up, the drama of this story does not end with the rescue immediately after the City of Benares sinks because one lifeboat of survivors is overlooked.)
The DESIGN OF THIS BOOK is notable for the many aspects that will appeal to 5th-9th grade readers. The chapters are mostly brief and each is broken up into short sections. In the first seven chapters there are black and white photos that give the reader just enough information to help them visualize what's going on. Then chapters 8-19 have charcoal-looking illustrations of the tragedy, struggle, courage that occurred as the ship began to sink and the passengers attempted to escape and survive. Then for chapters 20-27 there's nothing--just printed text. These chapters describe what happened to Lifeboat 12 (I don't want to give away too much). The final chapters again include actual photos of the surviving children and so forth.
Heiligman’s THANK YOU notes and lists of SOURCES are worthy of reading through as well—they serve to reveal how thorough her research was and assure the reader of accuracy and authority. (Her “thank you” section has a journey at sea theme ;).
I’d BOOK TALK THIS with students in late 5th – 9th grade.
The majority of the book recounts the stories of the survivors and what could be gathered from eyewitness accounts. Of the adult escorts, Mary Cornish was a hero. She had gone to her assigned lifeboat, which was one of the few that were lowered safely, with a number of children. For 12 days they were at sea, and Mary Cornish entertained the children and kept them alive with little food, water or warm clothes.
In many accounts of sinking ships, only the adults are recounted. Here there were kid's stories of a warm coat, a lost toy, and guilt when an older child could not save their younger sibling.
Lifeboats were always a problem in shipping, since many of them capsize when lowered from a listing ship. Also, in a convoy, if one ship is torpedoed, the other ships continue on, trying to get away from the region with U-boats underwater. After this event, one ship is designated as a rescue ship in each convoy, elected to stop and save as many people as possible.
A true regret is that many of the native workers from India on the ship were never interviewed at the time, nor can they or their families be located today. Their stories would have been riveting, but are now all lost.
A good book, but a sad one.