I Survived True Stories: Five Epic Disasters

176p. (I Survived). further reading. maps. notes. photos. reprods. Scholastic. Oct. 2014. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780545782241; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9780545789745.
Gr 2–5—Tarshis retells the stories of five natural disasters, including the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, the Children's Blizzard of 1888, and the Henryville Tornado in 2012, from the third-person perspective of a young person who survived each of the events. The narratives are factual yet still lively and suspenseful enough to hook readers. Students will also devour the author's "files," a brief conclusion to each tale that includes maps, fact boxes, survival tips, and her inspiration for each story. For instance, Tarshis relates how she first learned about Walter Allen nearly freezing to death in a prairie blizzard from reading David Laskin's The Children's Blizzard (HarperCollins, 2004). Black-and-white illustrations and photos are numerous and appealing, such as a child holding baseball-sized hail in Henryville and a woman in a long gown working out in the Titanic's fitness room. Students wishing to read lengthier treatments of the disasters will find suggestions at the book's end. Ideal for a high-interest pick or a read-aloud for older students.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland
Fans of the I Survived series will be naturally drawn to these real-life stories. Gripping accounts of natural and man-made disasters are illustrated with photographs and newspaper clippings, and each story is supplemented with historical and contextual information. Abundant source notes direct readers to further reading and research, even for the events already well known to most children.

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