Review: Titanic

Titanic: Voices From The Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson. Scholastic 2012. Review copy from publisher. Finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. Edited to add: Sibert Honor.

It’s About: The sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic on April 15, 1912, resulting in the loss of over 1,400 men, women and children.

The Good: I believe the first Titanic movie I saw was 1958’s A Night to Remember and the first book I read about it was Walter Lord’s 1955 novel on which the movie was based.  I am by no means even an armchair expert, but I’ve read a bunch of books (fiction and nonfiction) and watched a few of the films and documentaries.

Hopkinson’s Titanic gives a thorough look at the disaster, from building to setting sail, to the night it hits an iceberg, the sinking and the aftermath. There are plenty of photographs and other original documents, adding to the information provided.

The story is told using the first-hand accounts of the men, women and children who were on the Titanic, both crew and first-, second-, and third-class passengers. While some of the people were familiar to me (teenage Jack Thayer’s miraculous survival), others were not, such as Frankie Goldsmith, a young boy travelling third-class with his family. Their voices add an immediacy to the story, emphasizing the personal stories of survival. Particularly heartbreaking are the final moments between family members.

For those who want more, Hopkinson includes a bibliography of both books and websites.

Other reviews: Bookends, a Booklist blogGuys Lit Wire; Someday My Printz Will Come.

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