Voices from the Disaster
Review posted January 7, 2013.
Scholastic Press, New York, 2012. 289 pages.
2012 Sonderbooks Standout: #3 Children's Nonfiction
Normally, I never ever read disaster stories. It's too easy to imagine it happening. I didn't even ever go see the Titanic movie. I mean, come on, I know how it ends! The only reason I read this book was because it is under consideration by Capitol Choices.
That said, the book tells a compelling story. Though the author does stress the horrible loss of life, some of the impact of the disaster is softened because she focuses on the stories of survivors. Throughout the book, she uses quotations from the survivors, earning the book its subtitle Voices from the Disaster.
The book is also filled with photographs and written in an episodic way that makes you want to keep on reading and browsing. You'll find out you don't actually know what happened next, and you want to find out. In the back matter, Deborah Hopkinson even points to websites and still unresolved questions for those who want to explore further. This book is also an excellent look at how historians think.
In her Foreword, Deborah Hopkinson says it well:
Maybe the Titanic makes us all historians. We can't help being curious: What happened? Why? Who said what and when? What did it mean? And, of course, what if?