I Survived Disaster

If you're not familiar with the I Survived series, it is a series of historical fiction novels based on real disasters. If your child likes this series, they may be interested in learning about the real events. If they're not already into nonfiction, this may be a good way to get them into it. Alternatively, if your child reads a lot of nonfiction, this series may be a good way to get them to read fiction.

Since we are in the middle of a disaster (a pandemic is a type of disaster), ask your child what events they think should be included in a book. What details of everyday life should be included? Perhaps they'd like to write a story of their own.


The eruption of Mount St. Helens

Absolute Expert: Volcanoes by Lela Nargi - Get expert insights from National Geographic explorer and volcanologist Arianna Soldati in this lava-hot book, exploding with the most up-to-date geological intel straight from the field. Plunge deep beneath Earth's crust to find out how volcanoes form. Get up close to clouds of ash and molten lava. Learn about the biggest, most extreme volcanic eruptions to date. On the hunt for incredible volcanoes, you'll travel around the globe, dive into the depths of the oceans, journey into space...and so much more! History's most famous volcanic eruptions are all included: Mount Vesuvius, Mauna Loa, Stromboli, Mount Etna, Olympus Mons, and more. With special features, sidebars, wacky trivia, and more, it's the ultimate book to help YOU become an absolute expert on one of your favorite subjects. (Random House Inc)

Volcanoes by Anne Schreiber - Describes how a volcano is formed, the different types of volcanoes, where the most active volcanoes are found, and what happens when a volcano erupts.

Volcanoes: Mountains of Fire by Eric Arnold - Describes the eruption of Mount St. Helen's in Washington State in 1980 and provides a simple explanation of how and why volcanoes erupt.

Volcanoes: the Science Behind Fiery Eruptions by Alvin Silverstein - "Examines the science behind volcanoes, including what causes them to erupt, the inner-workings of a volcano, underwater volcanoes, and how to stay safe during an eruption". (Enslow Publishers)


The Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire: All Is Not Lost by Steven Otfinoski - "Vivid storytelling and authentic dialogue bring American history to life and place readers in the shoes of people who experienced one of the worst fires in American history - the Great Chicago Fire. In October 1871, the Midwest was in the midst of one of the driest periods on record. A center of modern firefighting technology, all of Chicago's resources were put to the test by a fire that almost completely destroyed the city." (Capstone)

The Great Chicago Fire: Rising From the Ashes by Kate Hannigan - The Great Chicago Fire, writer Kate Hannigan and illustrator Alex Graudins tell the true story of how a city rose up from one of the worst catastrophes in American history, and how this disaster forever changed how homes, buildings, and communities are constructed. A deadly blaze engulfs Chicago for two terrifying days! A brother, a sister, and a helpless puppy must race through the city to stay one step ahead of the devilish inferno. But can they reunite with their lost family before it's too late? (MacMillan Palgrave)

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy - The Great Fire of 1871 was one of most colossal disasters in American history. Overnight, the flourishing city of Chicago was transformed into a smoldering wasteland. The damage was so profound that few people believed the city could ever rise again. (Scholastic) An account of the Great Chicago Fire combines archival photographs and drawings with personal accounts by its survivors and historical documents.

The Great Molasses Flood

The American Story: 100 True Tales from American History by Jennifer Armstrong - One hundred brief stories about real people and occurrences in American history, arranged in chronological order by year from 1565 to 2000. (includes a story about The Great Molasses Flood)

The Great Molasses Flood: Boston, 1919 by Deborah Kops - A strange and sticky piece of history. January 15, 1919, started off as a normal day in Boston’s North End. Workers took a break for lunch, children played in the park, trains made trips between North and South Stations. Then all of a sudden a large tank of molasses exploded, sending shards of metal hundreds of feet away, collapsing buildings, and coating the harborfront community with a thick layer of sticky-sweet sludge. Deborah Kops takes the reader through this bizarre and relatively unknown disaster, including the cleanup and court proceedings that followed. What happened? Why did the tank explode? Many people died or were injured in the accident—who was to blame? Kops focuses on several individuals involved in the events of that day, creating a more personal look at this terrible tragedy. (Random House Inc)

Weird But True: Ripped From the Headlines: Real-Life Stories You Have to Read to Believe - Have you ever heard about about Boston's Great Molasses flood of 1919, in which 21 people drowned in molasses? Or the armless archer who used his feet to set a world record? These are just a few of the bizarre stories from history and today that you'll find in this exciting new addition to the Weird But True series. In keeping with Weird But True's signature style, this title features cool photos and mind-bending stories that are almost too strange to believe! (Random House Inc)


The Hindenburg Disaster

The Hindenburg Disaster by Peter Benoit - Describes the crash of the Hindenburg airship in 1937, relaying the history of international airship flight and the events leading to the disaster, and explains what measures have been taken to make airship travel safer.

The Hindenburg Explosion: Core Events of a Disaster in the Air by Steven Otfinoski - Before commercial airplanes became a common form of travel, giant airships were a popular mode of long distance transportation for those who could afford it. But airships could be quite dangerous. In an instant, they could explode or catch fire. Explore what happened when the Hindenburg ignited and became a flaming fireball in the sky. Could anyone survive such a horrific disaster? (Capstone Press)

The Hindenburg in Flames: How a Photograph Marked the End of the Airship by Michael Burgan - When it went down in flames, the Hindenburg went down in history. The era of airship travel ended with a disastrous explosion May 6, 1937. Sam Shere's photo of the Hindenburg in flames has been called the most famous news photograph ever taken. The entire episode from first flash to destruction took less than a minute. It happened so fast that Shere, who could feel the heat of the burning airship, had no time to raise his camera to his eye. His famous photo, which was the first ever to show a major air disaster as it happened, was shot from the hip. (Capstone Press)


Hurricane Katrina

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: a True Tale of Survival by Janet Wyman Coleman - On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina crashed a forty-foot tidal wave over the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport, Mississippi. The dolphin house was demolished, and its inhabitants swept from their tank into the Gulf of Mexico. After growing up in captivity, how could the eight bottlenose dolphins feed and protect themselves in the wild? And if they could survive, would their trainers ever see them again? This fascinating picture book; enriched with both beautiful color-wash illustrations and photographs taken by the trainers themselves; tells this dramatic, happy-ending story. (Houghton)

Heroes of Hurricane Katrina by Allan Zullo - Ten true stories of real-life heroes during Hurricane Katrina! As Coast Guard helicopter 6514 is buffeted by severe winds, rescue swimmer Laurence Nettles is lowered into the dangerous waters with one goal in mind -- save the lives of a family with an infant who are stranded in a damaged boat. Cut off from outside help for days, the valiant medical staff at Lindy Boggs Medical Center -- which is cut off by rising floodwaters and crippled by a power failure -- fight desperately to keep more than 100 patients alive. These and other real-life heroes risked their lives to save others during Hurricane Katrina, the most catastrophic natural disaster in United States history. You will never forget their courageous true stories. (Scholastic)

Hurricane Katrina by Peter Benoit - Recounts the events of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it caused in New Orleans, discusses the global efforts to help the victims, and describes the rebuilding efforts.

Two Bobbies: a True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival by Kirby Larson - During Hurricane Katrina, evacuating New Orleans residents were forced to leave their pets behind. Bobbi the dog was initially chained to keep her safe, but after her owners failed to return, she had to break free. For months, Bobbi wandered the city's ravaged streets-dragging her chain behind her-followed by her feline companion, Bob Cat. After months of hunger and struggle, the Two Bobbies were finally rescued by a construction worker helping to rebuild the city. When he brought them to a shelter, volunteers made an amazing discovery about the devoted friends-Bob Cat was actually blind! He had survived the aftermath of the storm by following the sound Bobbi's chain made as she dragged it along the ground. At the shelter, the two bob-tailed friends refused to be parted, even for a moment. Could rescue workers find the Bobbies' owners? Or could they find a new home that would take them together? (McMillan Palgrave)

The 2011 Japanese Tsunami

The 2011 Japan Disasters by Marcia Amidon Lusted - Discusses the devastating March 11, 2011 earthquake in Japan and the tsunami it spawned, examining the extent of the damage to the country and its people. (Baker & Taylor)

Tsunami: the True Story of an April Fool's Day Disaster by Gail Karwoski - April Fools' Day, 1946: a sunny Hawaiian school day that started out as any other--until the ocean began to pull back, exposing the sea floor. Suddenly, someone looked up: now a wall of water was racing toward them. This was no April Fool's joke--it was a deadly tsunami. Learn about this and other tsunamis from history.

Tsunamis by Judith Bloom Fradin - It's another beautiful day of your paradise vacation in South Asia. You look out onto a calm sea on this day after Christmas, already looking forward to ringing in 2005. But why is the ocean receding so far from shore? Are those fish flapping around in the sand? Something is not right. Your island getaway is about to be devastated with the 80-foot-plus waves of one of the worst tsunamis in history.

The 2004 Asian Tsunami was the result of the second largest earthquake ever recorded. Lasting over eight minutes, it was also the longest on record. The quake measured 9.0 on the Richter scale, large enough to vibrate the entire planet, violent enough to move an ocean. Through eyewitness accounts and dramatic photography, the first chapter of Tsunamis puts you in the terrifying path of the wave that washed ashore in many countries. The tsunami wiped out whole communities and claimed an estimated 230,000 lives. Tsunamis explores the science, history, and personal experience of tsunamis and shows kids what scientists are doing to develop early warning systems so we can survive such disasters in the future. (Random House Inc)


Pompeii: the Day a City Was Buried by Melanie Rice - Describes the life and people of Pompeii, a city in southern Italy destroyed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.

Pompeii: Lost & Found by Mary Pope Osborne - The famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius that snuffed out life in Pompeii and buried the town has long been a fascinating moment in history for children. This book presents that dramatic story with Mary Pope Osborne’s brief text and with stunning frescoes created by Bonnie Christensen, using the same colors, style, and technique as the ancient frescoes unearthed at Pompeii. In addition to the destruction of Pompeii and the rediscovery of the ruins nearly 1,700 years later, the book shows what daily life was like in this prosperous Roman town in the year 79 A.D. (Random House)

You Wouldn't Want to Live in Pompeii: a Volcanic Eruption You'd Rather Avoid by John Malam - Get ready . . . as a trusted slave in a quiet Roman town in 79 CE, you're about to undergo the most terrifying experience of your life. This interactive series will enthrall young and reluctant readers (ages 8-12) by making them part of the story, inviting them to become the main character. Each book uses humorous illustrations to depict the sometimes dark and horrific side of life during important eras in history. You'll never forget what it's like to live in Pompeii. Find out all about the horrible fate of the residents of Pompeii, what remains of the town today, and how Vesuvius' victims were preserved for eternity. (Scholastic)


The San Francisco Earthquake

Earthquake by Fran Hodgkins - Introduces earthquakes, discusses why they happen, and includes a fictional story about the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Lizzie Newton and the San Francisco Earthquake by Stephen Krensky - After an earthquake hits San Francisco, Lizzie looks for her parents and encounters the terrible destruction around the city, and includes a script and instructions for staging a theatrical performance of this adventure. (Baker & Taylor)

You Are There! San Francisco 1906 by Kenneth C.H. Walsh - At the dawn of the twentieth century, San Francisco was the economic and cultural center of the West Coast. But on the morning of April 18, 1906, everything changed. A devastating earthquake hit the city, tumbling buildings and igniting infernos. Thousands of people lost their lives, and hundreds of thousands lost their homes. San Francisco was in ruins. Why such a massive earthquake? Why such devastation? And would San Francisco ever recover?


The Titanic

Titanic: a Nonfiction Companion to Magic Treehouse #17 by Will Osborne - When Jack and Annie got back from their adventure in Magic Tree House #17: Tonight on the Titanic, they had lots of questions. How many people were aboard the Titanic? Why weren't there enough lifeboats for all the passengers? How did this "unsinkable" ship sink? What lessons can we learn from the tragedy? Find out the answers to these questions and more as Jack and Annie track the facts.

Titanic: the Disaster That Shocked the World by Mark Dubowski - Describes, in easy-to-read text, the disastrous 1912 sinking of the world's largest ocean liner after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage.

Titanic Sinks!: Experience the Titanic's Doomed Voyage in This Unique Presentation of Fact and Fiction by Barry Denenberg - To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Barry Denenberg has created a one-of-a-kind, high-concept book that's a unique combination of fiction and nonfiction. He uses a fictional framework to present the true story of the building and launching of the Titanic and to give a "you are there" feeling as the ship goes down. Lavishly designed with authentic period photographs and illustrations throughout, Titanic Sinks! immerses you in the era of the Titanic and reminds you why it's still a cultural touchstone a hundred years after its demise. (Penguin Putnam)

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson - Scheduled to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic, a topic that continues to haunt and thrill readers to this day, this book by critically acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the voices and stories of real Titanic survivors and witnesses to the disaster -- from the stewardess Violet Jessop to Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia, who came to the rescue of the sinking ship. Packed with heart-stopping action, devastating drama, fascinating historical details, loads of archival photographs on almost every page, and quotes from primary sources, this gripping story, which follows the Titanic and its passengers from the ship's celebrated launch at Belfast to her cataclysmic icy end, is sure to thrill and move readers. (Scholastic)