There are so many amazing books published for fourth to sixth graders. Each month in Ashley's column “So You Want Your Fourth to Sixth Grader to Read Fantastic Books,” recommendations of great stories will be given to caregivers that will have their kids begging to visit the library to check out more awesome books! If you'd like to place this book on hold, simply click on the title or cover.
Freaking Fantastic Nonfiction: Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children's Ship” by Deborah Heiligman
I’m surprised I picked a nonfiction book to start off this column since I normally don’t particularly enjoy this genre. But whoa! This book is absolutely amazing and such an incredible journey. Torpedoed centers around the passengers on board the SS City of Benares during World War II. The boat, which was carrying British children to safety to the U.S., was tragically sunk by a German U-boat.
This book moves quickly and is loaded with interesting facts about both the British and the Germans. The historical documents are well placed and I didn’t feel bogged down with information – this is a true account that reads like a story. The writing is deeply moving – Heiligman is an excellent storyteller. I was very emotional and teared up while reading this and was also ready to shout for joy when the survivors were rescued!
This is definitely a book for children that are avid nonfiction readers. But even kids that may not be history buffs might be awed by the bravery and heroics of the passengers that survived. For a deeper look into the book, check out this interview with the author at School Library Journal.
Update: Torpedoed is now a finalist for YALSA's (Young Adult Library Services Association) Excellence in Nonfiction Award!
Photo 1: The cover of Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children's Ship”.
Photo 2: The SS City of Benares.
Photo 3: The author, Deborah Heiligman, with Sonia Bech Williams, one of the remaining survivors from the SS City of Benares.