Posted in History, Intermediate, Middle Grade, Non-fiction, Non-Fiction, Tween Reads

Titanic survivor stories: 10 True Tales

titanicTitanic: Young Survivors (10 True Tales), by Allan Zullo, (Dec. 2015, Scholastic), $5.99, ISBN: 9780545818391

Recommended for ages 10-12

Another solid addition to the 10 True Tales series, Allan Zullo researched survivor stories of the kids who survived the Titanic sinking and told their stories. With heartbreaking statistics – only 86 of about 195 young people under age 17 survived – and tear-jerking stories of children saying goodbye to their fathers as they were lowered into lifeboats, these stories are tough to read, but create an emotional link between readers and the kids who survived the tragic sinking of the luxury liner over 100 years ago. It’s a good additional book to add to nonfiction collections; one that will go beyond the facts and straight to the heart of the people and what they lost. Each story includes a brief epilogue that details what happened to the survivors after arriving back in New York, and any information about the recovery of the survivor’s family members.

If Allan Zullo’s name is on it, I buy it. He’s written over 100 nonfiction books for kids, and knows how to write series nonfiction that reads like page-turning fiction. He knows the subject matter that kids like to read about, from war heroes to surviving sharks, and he makes sure to get a kids’-eye view with books like Kid Pirates and Teens at War. He puts the real face of history into nonfiction text by telling the stories of people affected by world-shattering events.

The book includes a glossary, and Zullo mentions several reliable Web resources, including Encyclopedia Titanica, Titanic-Titanic, and the Titanic Inquiry Project.

Allan Zullo’s author webpage offers more information about his books and an FAQ that features questions kids have asked him.

Posted in Fiction, Tween Reads

The Haunted Museum – a new series for fans who like scary history!

haunted locketThe Haunted Museum #1: The Titanic Locket, by Suzanne Weyn (Scholastic, 2014). $6.99, ISBN: 9780545588423

Recommended for ages 8-12

Samantha and Jessica’s parents take them on a cruise on the Titanic 2, which will take the same route that the fated Titanic took in 1912. Right before they board, the visit the Haunted Museum, where they both touch a locket – despite reading the “DO NOT TOUCH” signs. Once they get on board, things get weird – their room number keeps changing, they hear a scratching and a crying at their door, and there seems to be a ghostly maid who has it in for Samantha? And how did the locket from the museum show up in Jessica’s bag?

I have to be honest, I was expecting a perfectly cute little middle-grade mystery when I picked up Haunted Museum #1, but got so much more. This book has some bite! There is some great historical background on Titanic in here (to satisfy any Common Core issues), including bits about the time period – clothes, people who sailed on the ship, and descriptions of the ship itself – especially that gorgeousĀ  Grand Staircase – really give the book life. I loved that the sisters actually got along, rather than falling back on the old love/hate sibling rivalry formula. There is a good mystery wrapped within a mystery here, too – it’s an all-aroundĀ great read.

Kids in my library love mysteries and scary books, but they’ve gone through all the ABC Mysteries, Capital Mysteries, and Goosebumps books I’ve got. This will be a great new mystery to put on my shelf and get the kids enjoying for summer reading.