Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson

titanic

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster
Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN: 9780545116749
FORMAT: Nonfiction
AGES: Young Adult3 Stars

I read this book as part of the YALSA’s Nonfiction Award Challenge.

I will start off by saying that this was the book that I was the least excited about for the YALSA’s Nonfiction Award Challenge. Mostly because I know what happened to the Titanic. It sunk. People died. And there is no way that they can change the facts to make a happy ending. And I like happy endings. So, I was a tiny bit disgruntled when I learned that this was one of the books I would need to read. But, I am pleased to say that I am glad that I read this book. And I can see why it is on this list.

This is a story about the Titanic, the gigantic ship that should not have sunk…but did. Although I knew the story, I did not expect to enjoy it (as much as one can enjoy reading a book about a tragedy that the whole world still remembers and refers to). I think the thing I was most nervous about was listening to one of the “voices” of people and then having them die. But after just a few chapters I realized that most of the “voices” were telling what had happened. And since they were real people, if they were talking about the cold April night in past tense…then I could relax just a bit. Not too much mind you, there were still loads of loved ones that these people knew that were going to die. That is just how it goes with this type of book. But learning about people, getting attached to their stories, and knowing that there was at least a small bit of hope…that made it possible for me to read about so much death and despair.

I also liked how there were many different perspectives in the “voices”. I got a feel for the crew and the various passengers. I could understand the grand holiday it was before they hit that “growler”. I learned about what happened as the crew rushed around to work so hard. I found the courage of many of the men astounding…I know I couldn’t be that calm when facing what they were facing. And those that watched them stay behind as the last lifeboats were leaving–wow. Heartaches all around.

Of course this is mostly about the night the Titanic sunk. But I also found it interesting that there was information about how they found the wreck of the Titanic. The small glimpse of the impact of that fateful night was powerful. The book was well-written with loads of details presented in such an interesting way, that those wishing for a narrative story will find it in this factual text. And, those who are fascinated with the Titanic will be thrilled with this book.

Book Discussion Questions:
Was there anything that could have been done to prevent this tragedy? What was it?
Which “voice” did you enjoy reading the most and why?
What is the definition of a hero? Were there any heroes that night? Who were they and what did they do to become heroes?
Why does the world still remember the Titanic? What has the world learned from the Titanic?
At the end of the book it mentions the different numbers of people from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class passengers that were saved. Do you believe that there was discrimination? Why or why not?

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