Titanic: Voice From the Disaster

  • Titanic: Voice From the Disaster

March 1, 2012
Scholastic Press
Ages 8 and up

Critically acclaimed nonfiction author Deborah Hopkinson pieces together the story of the TITANIC and that fateful April night, drawing on the voices of survivors and archival photographs.

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 heartstopping 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 its cataclysmic icy end, is sure to thrill and move readers.


Audiofile Award

2013 ALSC Notable Children's Book

Robert F. Silbert Informational Book Award Honor

Finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults


TTLG - Editor's Choice

Cybils 2012 Finalist

The Horn Book - Annotated Titanic Bibliography

LA Times

The Wall Street Journal - When the Great Ship Went Down


The Horn Book Recommends

YA Librarian Tales

The Classroom Bookshelf


Scholastic Kids Press Corps

PW Tip Sheet, Pick of the Week March 26, 2012

YA Book Lover Blog

Starred Review - Publisher's Weekly - 2/20/12
Hopkinson puts a human face on the Titanic's sinking in this riveting nonfiction chronicle of the ship's collision with an iceberg and the tragic aftermath. She threads together the stories of many passengers and crew members, focusing on a handful of survivors that includes an Argentine-born stewardess, a rambunctious nine-year-old British boy, a science teacher from England, and an American teenager traveling with his parents. The author quotes these four and others freely, their voices forming a deeply intimate account of the tragedy. Hopkinson packs her thoroughly researched story with a wealth of information about the ship itself (this book is an invaluable resource for students), and her portraits of the shipmates are fully realized and often heartbreaking. Chapters detailing the sinking, the scramble for lifeboats, and the harrowing wait for the Carpathia's arrival are fast-paced and riveting. Photos of the ship, the (purported) iceberg, telegrams sent to and from the Titanic, and of the survivors' rescue add significant context and amplify the immediacy of the drama. Ages 8–12. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)

Panda Reads

Starred Review - The Horn Book

Starred Review - School Library Journal
Review Issue Date: February 2012 HOPKINSON, Deborah. Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.276p. charts. maps. photos. reprods. bibliog. chron. further reading. index. notes. Web sites. CIP. Scholastic. Mar. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-11674-9. LC 2011006692.
Gr 6 Up–As the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, there is a whole new output of books reexamining and updating the information about the tragedy. This one weaves together the memories and writing of the survivors, and what makes it stand out is the intimacy readers feel for the crew and passengers. The story itself hasn’t changed, but through Hopkinson’s work, young people get to know and care deeply about the people involved. Children, stewards, officers, and passengers from all three class designations are included, and their stories combine to recount the events of that fateful April night. Readers with even a passing knowledge of the Titanic will find themselves drawn into the drama and heartbroken at the inevitable end. Period photographs, artwork, diagrams, and maps appear throughout to illustrate points and help clarify events. Traditionally accepted details about the ship from its construction to its luxurious appointments, are discussed, and some of the controversies that have arisen since the wreck was found, but the real focus here is on the people and the narrative. Students looking for real-life drama will find this an absorbing and richly satisfying read.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Starred Review - Kirkus
: Voices From the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
In what's sure to be a definitive work commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Hopkinson offers a well-researched and fascinating account of the disaster.
On Monday, April 15th, 1912, the magnificent Titanic sank after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Of the 2,208 people on board, only 712 survived. It's a well-known story, though maybe not to young readers, who, if anything, might have seen the movie. Hopkinson orchestrates a wealth of material here, using a third-person narrative voice to tell the story while incorporating eyewitness accounts of people on the "most luxurious ship the world had ever seen." A huge number of archival photographs and reproductions of telegrams, maps, letters, illustrations, sidebars and even a dinner menu complement the text, yielding a volume as interesting for browsing as for through-reading. The voices include a stewardess, a science teacher, a 9-year-old boy, the ship's designer, the captain and a mother on her way to a new life in America. Best of all is the author's spirit: She encourages readers to think like historians and wonder what it would have been like on the Titanic and imagine each character's story. Fifty pages of backmatter will inform and guide readers who want to know even more.
A thorough and absorbing recreation of the ill-fated voyage. (Nonfiction. 8-16)

Titanic: Voices From the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
“Knowing that the Titanic sank at 2:20a.m. on April 15, 1912 doesn’t begin to convey what happened that night, and why more than a century later we’re still drawn to this event.” Hopkinson’s account of the Titanic tragedy is quite possibly the standard against which o the r tellings will be measured. Her authoritative work is both comprehensive and very readable. By focusing on individuals more than sensational events, Hopkinson ensures that readers never forget the sinking’s human toll. This riveting book, beautifully designed, will appeal to a wide range of readers, including adults. Period photos, a glossary, timeline, biographical sketches, even excerpts of survivors’ letters are included. This is nonfiction at its finest.
— Chris Rose, Hugo Books

For Students

Find out more about the Titanic!

We’ll never know the whole story of the Titanic. Many key players in the disaster, including the captain, the ship’s designer, the chief engineer, and the officer on the bridge at the time of the collision didn’t survive to give evidence. 

There are lots of ways to learn more and come up with your own theories.  Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

Read Survivors’ Testimonies:
  You can find the official British and American inquiry hearings on the Titanic Inquiry Project website at http://www.titanicinquiry.org/ 

Discuss the Titanic Online:
  The best place to find out more about the Titanic is theEncyclopedia Titanica website at http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/

Listen to Real Titanic Voices: 

You can hear BBC radio interviews with a passenger and crew members:

Fourth officer Joseph Boxhall

Second officer Charles Herbert Lightoller

Survivor Eva Hart

For Teachers

100 Years Later: Ways to Teach About the Titanic With The Times

Teaching with Children's and Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century

Common Core: Titanic