Multimedia Bibliography – Titanic
I compiled this bibliographic resource for use by educators, particularly middle grade teachers and school librarians, who wish to present students with an instructional unit on the historical aspects of the Titanic sinking of 1912. The materials selected for this bibliography are suitable for middle grade students (grades 3-6). However, certain materials listed are also acceptable for students as young as the second grade, including the picture books Polar the Titanic Bear and Titanicat. I opted to include these picture books to accommodate younger readers or readers with low reading comprehension skills.
In compiling these resources, I visited several branches of the Austin Public Library to peruse their collections of juvenile materials relating to the Titanic. I also consulted the School Library Journal, which offers reviews of several seminal children’s works about the Titanic sinking. Ultimately, I selected five books which provide insight into varying aspects of the Titanic’s history. A school librarian could use these five books to create a Titanic display for students at a variety of reading levels who are interested in learning more about the Titanic, whetherfor a report, for pleasure, or for both.
Furthermore, I also utilized the internet to locate websites and videos which usefully underpin the books I selected. The “ALSC’s Great Websites for Kids” list provided me with one particularly useful website on the Titanic called “Titanic Destination…Cyberspace.” I also discovered that reputable websites like the History Channel website and the Discovery Channel website have digital content suitable for middle grade students and younger. Having personally visited several Titanic exhibits, I was also aware of several great community resources available for students in the state of Texas. I also chose to include potential field trips, realia, and games in this bibliography because of the value of immersive, experiential learning.
Brewster, Hugh. Illustrated by Ken Marschall. Inside the Titanic (A Giant Cutaway Book). Little, Brown & Company, 1997.
Illustrated by one of the foremost Titanic authorities, this book realistically depicts the experiences of two children who sailed aboard the Titanic in 1912. Impressively sized and richly illustrated, this book will immerse even very young readers in the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage. The “cutaway” nature of the book’s illustrations allows readers to “explore” the Titanic in a literal way. Readers can view the interior of each deck in vivid detail, from the first-class cabins to the steerage compartments. When presenting a unit on the Titanic, this resource will attract reluctant readers who are turned off by text-heavy books.
Crisp, Marty. Titanticat. Illustrated by Robert Papp. Sleeping Bear Press, 2011.
Jim Mulholland is a cabin boy aboard the Titanic. As the ship prepares for its maiden voyage, Jim is tasked with taking care of the ship’s cat, whom he dubs 401. What follows is a fictionalized version of true events, providing a lighthearted perspective on a usually somber subject. Young readers will delight in this beautifully-illustrated picture book and the whimsical, slightly mysterious story it tells. Rendered in oil on canvas, the cover of this book will add visual appeal to any displays created about the Titanic.
Kentley, Eric. Illustrated by Steven Noon. Story of the Titanic. DK, 2012.
This beautifully-illustrated book tells the story of the Titanic from start to finish. Beginning with the construction of the Titanic in Belfast and concluding with the inevitable legal inquiry which followed her sinking, no detail is spared in describing this important historical event. In addition to key facts, Noon’s artwork includes highly-detailed illustrations, cutaway views, archival and photos. As an oversized book, Story of the Titanic provides more visual detail than the average Titanic book aimed at children, making it an essential addition to any library or classroom collection.
Osborne, Mary Pope. Illustrated by Sal Murdocca. Tonight on the Titanic (Magic Tree House #17). Random House, 1999.
Part of the popular Magic Tree House series, Tonight on the Titanic follows Jack and Annie on an adventure through time. Together, they explore the decks of the Titanic and attempt to save the shipfrom her fated collision with the iceberg. This book allows readers a fictionalized glimpse into life on board the Titanic, making it an excellent classroom tool that encourages reading for pleasure mixed with historical fact. For students who claim to hate traditional non-fiction books, Tonight on the Titanic provides educational content along with a fun plot.
Wilkinson, Philip. Titanic: Disaster at Sea. Capstone, 2012.
This resource features a vivid, four-page foldout of the interior and exterior of the ship. Text is minimal but carefully chosen by the author. The book also contains a sizable poster and a fold-out diagram of the ship. The poster is a glossy large image of the ship, with smaller images at the bottom depicting scenes from the Titanic, from the boiler room to the first-class decks. This book is a veritable treasure trove of information which students will want to spend hours exploring.
On Board the Titanic (n.d.). Discovery Channel Website. Retrieved November 23, 2012, from http://www.discovery.com/guides/history/titanic/Titanic/titanic.html
This highly-clickable, interactive website enables students to explore the experiences of four Titanic passengers in remarkable detail, beginning on day one of the voyage and concluding on the night of the sinking. Students will learn about what daily life on the Titanic was like and the role social stratification played onboard. This website clearly shows how the experience of a third class passenger differed from that of a first-class passenger. While exploring this website, students will get to know some of the key figures and events involved the Titanic’s inception and ultimate demise.
Titanic Interactive (n.d.). The History Channel Website. Retrieved November 20, 2012, http://www.history.com/topics/titanic/interactives/titanic-interactive
This interactive website offers students hours’ worth of exploration into the Titanic sinking, including an interactive tour of the ship, an introduction to key players in the Titanic’s inception, and archival photographs of the ship taken during her construction. Students can trace the Titanic’s route map from Liverpool to New York City and view a timeline of key events in the story of the Titanic. This website is unique in that it also provides vivid insights into the “aftermath” of the sinking. Many resources on the Titanic conclude with the night of the sinking, but this website enables users to learn what happened to Titanic survivors and the dramatic changes the Titanic sinking brought to the maritime industry.
Titanic Destination…Cyberspace. An ALSC Great Website for Kids. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.fantail.com/pixhome.htm.
This interactive and colorful website is listed as one of “ALSC’s (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Websites for Kids.” The website includes a vivid “digital gallery” featuring illustrations of key moments of the Titanic’s maiden voyage, including the final sunset and the shooting of distress rockets. Furthermore, students will find a plethora of links to other helpful Titanic sites. This site is perfectly suited to tech-savvy students who wish to explore various features of the Titanic’s history using the click of a mouse.
Last Mysteries of the Titanic. Narrated by James Cameron. Discovery Channel, 2005.
Hosted by James Cameron, the director of the Oscar-winning film Titanic, this video is aimed at adults but can be suitable for children. Although some of the narration can be dialogue-heavy and cumbersome, certain portions of this video will entice students. For example, this video includes real-life footage of the Titanic wreck on the ocean floor. By screening this portion of the video, educators can bring students thousands of feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and into the decaying hull of the Titanic shipwreck.
Titanic 100: New CGI of How Titanic Sank. National Geographic, 2012.
Recently released by National Geographic, this video depicts the sinking of the Titanic as determined by Titanic experts. The video shows the Titanic striking the iceberg and the tragic events which follow. Students will undoubtedly appreciate a glimpse into the “physics” behind a sinking ship. Viewers are given a peek inside the interior of the ship as the “watertight” bulkheads flood, condemning the ship to her tragic fate. Additionally, the video charts the Titanic’s final path as she breaks apart, her two halves falling to rest several hundred feet apart from one another on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. The informative voiceover narration combined with the vivid graphics will surely enthrall students and help them to better understand the “anatomy” of a shipwreck.
Titanic: Adventure out of Time, Cyberflix Games, 1996.
This historical mystery PC game will truly immerse students in the world of Titanic. The graphics are richly detailed and players are able to explore many obscure aspects of the Titanic, including the purser’s office, the Turkish bath, the Café Parisian, and more. Although some events in the game are fictionalized, students simultaneously learn a great deal about the Titanic and her maiden voyage. The game even includes a section where they can send out distress calls using Morse code. By interacting with other passengers and exploring the ship’s every nook and cranny, students can immerse themselves in the world of Titanic, lending an immediacy to the events. This game requires approximately 2 hours to play.
Adventure on the Titanic Game (n.d.). National Geographic Website. Retrieved November 23, 2012, from http://channel.nationalgeographic.com//channel/titanic-100-years/interactives/adventure-on-the-titanic/
This free, web-based game enables players to act as a passenger on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. High quality, colorful graphics enable players to explore the decks of the luxury ocean liner and meet the notable people onboard. Students can click on the names of people, places, and things to learn more about each object and its significance. The interactive component of this particular resource will immerse students in the “world” of the Titanic. It can be played multiple times to unlock new educational content and requires about thirty minutes to play. The game also provides a valuable glimpse into gender roles and social standing at the time of the Titanic sinking. If you choose to play the game as a female or a third-class passenger, you are only allowed to enter certain areas of the ship—a fact which forces players to think about the limitations faced during that time period.
Titanic: The Board Game, Universal Games. Ages 7 & up.
Product description (from Amazon): “The year is 1912. You’re on the most luxurious ocean liner in history. But, are you ready for what’s next? Welcome aboard the R.M.S. Titanic. Gossip with other passengers, receive telegrams and collect all five pieces of your personal property to advance from Second Class to the First Class section of the ship. But watch out, you might get put back into steerage or, worse yet, never make it to your lifeboat on time! Includes telegrams, gossip cards, property cards, passports, bellhop tokens, game board, play money, die, and playing pieces. Bonus: contains fact sheet about the original R.M.S. Titanic. For 2 to 6 players.” By interacting with other students in playing this board game, students can adopt the perspective of a Titanic passenger in order to better appreciate the importance of the events surrounding the tragedy.
Community Events (Field Trips)
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Forth Worth Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth, TX.
From Fort Worth Museum of Science and History website: “About 250 artifacts related to the doomed ship and re-creations of its rooms are featured in this touring exhibit, which gives visitors a peek into the lives of those who were on the vessel when it sank in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg. It will be on view at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, opening Saturday and running through [April 2013]. The museum will kick off its Celebrity Lecture Series in advance of the opening with Titanic expert and author Tim Maltin’s ‘Titanic: The Ultimate Tragedy’ presentation at 7 p.m.” This field trip would enable students to view genuine Titanic realia and explore recreations of the ship itself—an unforgettable experience.
The Titanic Remembered Centennial Exhibition. Abilene Museum, Abilene, TX.
From the Abilene Musum website: “Experience the drama of the epic event of the century, the sinking of RMS Titanic at this year long ‘Voyage of Destiny’ exhibition marking the 100th Anniversary of the ill -ated ship by touring ten intriguing exhibits including the memorabilia of the late Jack Grimm, Abilene oil tycoon who financed and participated in three expeditions to find the Titanic.” This community event will enable participants to learn more about the submarine expeditions to find the Titanic—a facet of the Titanic narrative which will undoubtedly appeal to students.
Adams, Simon. Titanic. (Eyewitness Books Series). DK, 2009.
This CD book provides a detailed, factual account of the Titanic, from its inception to its sinking—and beyond. There is even a section about the remains of the Titanic and whether they should be disturbed from their resting place on the ocean floor. Because of its heavy emphasis on quality facts, this book will undoubtedly come in handy for book reports and the like. In addition to well-chosen photographs and illustrations, this Eyewitness book also includes a bonus clip art CD and a poster with views of the ship. The information- and illustration-intensive two-page entries cover important topics relating to the Titanic, including the crew, a timeline, and more.
Performed by Bruce Erskine, et al. Music Aboard The Titanic. Inside Sounds,1998.
This music CD features music played by the band on the Titanic. Including ragtime, light classical, and waltzes, this CD will immerse listeners in the world of 1910. Students will appreciate the opportunity to listen to the same music enjoyed by passengers on the Titanic, including songs like “Blue Danube” and “Nearer, My God, to Thee.”
A trough of water maintained at a temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
The temperature of the water on the night of the Titanic sinking was believed to be approximately 28 degrees Fahrenheit. By inviting students to dunk their hands in the cold water, educators can provide students with a valuable glimpse into the conditions Titanic victims endured when they were cast into the Atlantic Ocean on the night of April 14, 1912. This piece of realia can also be used to educate students about the science behind and dangers of hypothermia.
Spedden, Daisy. Polar the Titanic Bear. Illustrated by Laurie McGaw. Little, Brown, and Company, 1994.
This book, penned by a real-life Titanic survivor, contains realia, including replications of a ticket entitling the bearer to use of the Turkish baths aboard the Titanic and a postcard from 1910. Students can handle these replications for a more immersive glimpse into the Titanic’s history. Certain editions of the book include a replica of the stuffed polar bear which the author’s son carried with him on the Titanic—another intriguing piece of realia which cements the fact that real children experienced this tragedy firsthand. The book offers a fictionalized account of the stuffed bear’s experiences aboard the Titanic. The fact that it is composed by a real-life Titanic survivor will add interest, while the charming illustrations and realia add visual appeal.
Denenberg, Barry. Titanic Sinks!: Experience the Titanic’s Doomed Voyage in This Unique Presentation of Fact and Fiction. Viking, 2011.
Styled as a fictional magazine called Modern Times, this resource contains primary-source articles about the Titanic sinking which appeared in period newspapers, providing a rare glimpse into the controversies surrounding the tragedy. Additionally, this resource includes other pieces of realia such as: staff statistics, menus, and a gymnasium schedule, creating a wonderfully immersive experience. For students who cannot attend the community events described in the previous section, this resource offers a valuable opportunity to handle faithful replicas of Titanic artifacts.
Archbold, Rick. Last Dinner On the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner. Hyperion, 1997.
This book features recipes served in first-,second-, and third-class dining rooms on the Titanic. By recreating some of the simpler recipes like Shepherd’s pie, readers can experience the same food enjoyed by passengers on the Titanic. Simply by flipping through this book, one can gain a better understanding how your “class” affected your entire lifestyle. Featuring vivid photographs and detailed recipes, this book can enable educators to share some of the culture of the time with students.