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. Read more…