Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship”

Deborah Heiligman, illus. by Lawrence Lee. Holt/Godwin, $19.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-62779-554-8
In this gripping account, Heiligman (Vincent and Theo) relates the September 1940 attack by a German submarine on the British passenger ship SS City of Benares, which killed 258 people, including 77 children. In unflinching detail, the book depicts the often fatal struggles of enduring a torpedo strike at sea, as well as the selfless acts of those striving to keep other passengers alive. Distinguished by expertly woven research, including the author’s own interviews, the book focuses on the 90 Children’s Overseas Reception Board children who were being sent, like others before them, to safety in Canada. The volume describes the families’ tearful farewells and then the children’s delight during the first days on “the floating palace.” Frequent hints of the approaching disaster build momentum as the attack nears, and the tension increases dramatically as the narrative shifts to riveting individual stories of those awaiting rescue in lifeboats or on rafts. Accompanied by photographs and illustrations and including documentation of all who were on board, this is a harrowing yet inspiring look at a little-covered historical event. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/25/2019
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-23391-2
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