Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the Children's Ship
Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the Children's Ship

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Annotation: A true account of the attack and sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares, which was evacuating children from England during WWII.
Genre: World history
Catalog Number: #200815
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: xi, 292 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-627-79554-5 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-6741-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-627-79554-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-6741-5
Dewey: 940.54
LCCN: 2019002536
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 58 Heiligman tells a story of bravery, courage, and despair through the eyes of the passengers on the SS City of Benares, a ship commissioned to sail to Canada with 100 children on board during World War II. The SS City of Benares was torpedoed by a German submarine. The imagery of the waves hitting the lifeboats and rafts as the survivors hung on for life is so vivid that readers almost feel as if they, too, are fighting for their lives. Heiligman includes information about the lascars, or Indian sailors, many of whom gave their lives to save as many people as they could. The book is filled with photographs, illustrations, and letters written from the children to their families, as well as the telegraphs reporting the deaths of those on board. The extensive back matter, paired with the author's deft narrative touch, makes this title a must purchase for libraries, a must-read for all, and a beautiful memorial for those who perished in this tragic event. VERDICT Expect this book to garner Heiligman another nonfiction award. Pair this with Susan Wood's historical fiction novel Lifeboat 12 . Stephanie Wilkes, Good Hope Middle School, West Monroe, LA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This story of the SS City of Benares, a luxury ocean liner pressed into duty transporting English children to Canada during WWII, is by turns informative, intriguing, horrifying, and inspirational. Ample background information describes the London Blitz and its terrible toll on civilians, justifying why parents made the desperate decision to send their children overseas. Readers are introduced to the kids and their chaperones and share their first few idyllic days at sea, enjoying toys, games, and ample ice cream. Late one night, however, the Benares was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Several passengers died in the initial explosion; due to terrible weather, many lifeboats flipped while being lowered and dumped their occupants into the icy waters. Those who did make it into lifeboats faced hours of relentless freezing temperatures and huge waves, resulting in more deaths. Extensively documented accounts tell of harrowing escapes, incredible heroism, tragic accidents, eventual rescues, and the gruesome aftermath: only 13 children out of 90 survived, and overall the ship lost 258 of its total 406 passengers. The real-time unfolding of events is compelling, and young audiences will relate to these stories about students their own age. An epilogue, bibliography, and chapter notes make this ideal for reports; the powerful story from Printz Honor Book author Heiligman (Vincent and Theo, 2017) will attract additional audiences.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 273-276) and index.
Word Count: 56,725
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.0 / points: 9.0 / quiz: 505200 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 840L

From award-winning author Deborah Heiligman comes Torpedoed , a true account of the attack and sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares , which was evacuating children from England during WWII. Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set sail for Canada with one hundred children on board. When the war ships escorting the Benares departed, a German submarine torpedoed what became known as the Children's Ship. Out of tragedy, ordinary people became heroes. This is their story. This title has Common Core connections.

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