Perfect Picture Book Friday – Titanic: Disaster at Sea

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because April 12th, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I have heard a lot of things about the Titanic lately (probably because of the anniversary) and I thought other kids would be curious about it.


Titanic -Disaster at Sea

By Martin Jenkins

Illustrated by Brian Sanders

Published by Candlewick Press in 2012, originally published in 2008

31 pages -ages 8+

Theme/Topic – Titanic / History / non-fiction


Opening and Synopsis – “At nine o’clock in the evening on Thursday, April 18th 1912, in the middle of a tremendous thunderstorm,  an ocean liner pulled slowly into New York harbor and prepared to dock. The ship was the Carpathia, one of dozens that regularly plied to and fro across the North Atlantic. Normally her arrival would have attracted little attention among the hustle and bustle of the busy port. But this time it was different.”

 It was different because the Carpathia had the survivors of the Titanic aboard. This book goes back in time to when the Titanic was built and tells about the ship and how it was designed to be “unsinkable” and who designed and built it.  It also tells about the classes of passengers, the crew, the ship’s cargo and the layout of the ship. It describes in detail about the Titanic’s voyage from its launch on April 10th in Southhampton (Great Britain) to when the ship sank in an ice field in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. The book also described how the ship flooded and sank and the rush to get to the survivors.

Why I liked this book – This picture book is meant for a little older kids and I think it is a good book to tell kids about the Titanic especially because of the 100th anniversary of its sinking. The book has a lot of facts, diagrams and details (did you know the Titanic carried 40 tons of potatoes and 3,000 tea cups? 🙂 ). I really liked the illustrations, maps and diagrams, here’s an example-

There were also short biographies of people from different classes on the Titanic. They were of real people on the ship. I really liked how they mixed a lot of scientific information with the story of the Titanic, her passengers, crew and the people who tried to save them.


Activities and Resources –

For cool pictures and videos of the sunken Titanic visit Expedition Titanic !
The official website of the RMS Titanic is HERE.
National Geographic Kids has a bunch of cool Titanic information HERE.
 I also want to tell you about a Middle Grade book I reviewed “Titanic – Unsinkable” by Gordon Korman. I know it’s not a picture book, but if a kid liked the Titanic picture book, they may also like this series. It’s a great historical fiction series about the Titanic. See my review of book 1 HERE

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Categories: Age 9+

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42 replies

  1. What a great book showing new generations what happened. It is one of the most fascinating stories in all time.

  2. This is a very serious story; you did an excellent review of a book written on a never-to-be-forgotten historical event. I read a book about the sinking of the Titanic when I was a teenager and it gripped my heart. It was so tragic … I couldn’t watch the movie when it first came out. Now it’s out in 3-D, too much for my emotions!
    I hope many children will read this book now that you have reviewed it, Eric. Good job.

  3. The story of the Titanic is a fascinating piece of history! Candlewick Press puts out some excellent books, they are one of my favorite publishers. I think my son Arthur would really enjoy this book and you have great resources. Thank you for recommending it!

  4. Wow, I am going to get this one for me. This tragic tale would be too much for my little ones, but this book sounds fascinating.

  5. There have been thousands of shipwrecks, but this one sure has captured the world’s imagination. This book looks well done. I’ve been seeing lots of Titanic books lately, marking the anniversary.

    My grandfather actually immigrated to America three days after the Titanic sunk by the same route. He was only three, but his older siblings remembered seeing floating debris.

    (I’m am amazed at the fortitude of my great-grandmother who took eleven children across the ocean alone–great-grandpa was already here working–without knowing the language and three days after a horrible disaster. She must have been quite a lady.)

    • I think it is because it was supposed not to sink. That’s why everyone knows about it. What do you think? WOW! That’s sounds like a great story – mybe even a book 😉 I agree, people who did that even before the Titanic sunk were really strong.

  6. Great idea for a book. This could definitely qualify as a boy book too. I cannot wait to read it. Thanks for adding it to the list! *waving*

  7. I’m so glad you shared this, because as I mentioned in my own PPBF post, I’m always looking for nonfiction that would interest both my son and me. This is perfect, as I have always been fascinated by Titanic! Great choice!!

  8. There are several books by the guy that discovered the location of the sunk Titanic, Bob Ballard. They’re not necessarily children’s books, but the photographs and descriptions are captivating for readers of any age. He also discovered the location of the sunk German battleship, Bismarck, from World War 2, and more. Good for anyone interested in this subject.

  9. Great review. I like the facts interspersed with the biographies of people aspect. It seems like it tries to give the full picture of this tragedy.

  10. Erik, you know I love historical fiction! And, I like stories written about the Titantic — perfect timing with the release of the movie in 3-D. This looks like a great book to explain a real event to kids. I read another interesting theory recently about the iceburg. Something about one breaking off an floating into the ship’s path, an area that was free of iceburgs. Can’t remember the entire story, but you could probably google it.

    • Thanks Ms Tilton! You may really like the series by Gordon Korman I mentioned. It follows three children from different classes on the Titanic. I am going to look up the iceburg theory you mentioned. It sounds interesting. Thanks!

  11. So fascinating! My daughter just brought home another picture book about the Titanic called, POLAR THE TITANIC BEAR, which is based on a true story about a stuffed bear that “survived.” If you are looking for more pbs on the Titanic, you should check it out! Thanks for another great review, Erik.

  12. Erik, This sounds like an amazing book. I bet my 8 year old would love the mechanics behind the Titanic. They’ve been seeing the commercials for the re-release in 3D. Oh, and thanks to you and your blog, I got my 8 year old to start reading the 39 Clues series, and he loves them. Thank you!!!!
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  13. I would be very interested to pick up this book. Wonderful review Erik! Thank you for providing all the resources as well.

  14. Sounds like this book is a great resource to talk about this historic ship and event. There are lots of stories about the Titanic right now, because of the anniversary. Thanks for sharing this title. I appreciate you mentioning it’s a good choice for older kids. Probably not a good one for my little guy yet.

    • It had a lot of good information in it, but I do think it is for older kids. Amy D. just commented about a book called “Polar The Titanic Bear.” It’s meant for younger kids and it tells the true story about a stuffed bear that “survived” the Titanic disaster. I haven’t read it yet but it sounds good for younger kids.

  15. Erik, you make wonderful choices for PPBF. I did not know that April 12th, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I learn new things from you all the time! Thanks for this great review.

  16. Erik, did you review the book or an ebook version? The actual book is awesome to see all of that information and the foldouts in the book. Even a poster of a cut-out of the ship. I’m a Titanic nut and read anything Titanic. I flipped when I got the publisher to send the actual book – but it is in the library now. 🙁

    You did a great job reviewing this. It was tough to do and if you had the ebook version — you had a difficult book to review. I saw the online / ebook version. You are an awesome reviewer. Erik, you seem to always know the tone needed for a book. I want a copy of your first book, seriously. Signed, of course.

    • Thank you Ms. Morris! I did review the “real” book, but it is the re-published one not the original. I read on amazon that the original had popups and pull outs. The new version doesn’t have that 🙁 but it still has all sorts of great illustrations. I knew you would like this one because you told me you liked Titanic stories!

  17. I”m with Beth, I’m going to get this one for me to read. It sounds fascinating. thanks for sharing, Erik.

    On another note be sure and read my PPBF of today until the end. You will see why. 🙂

  18. Great Review Erik and what a great book to… I have always been fascinated by the story. I loved watching the movie when it came out. Love historical fiction thanks for this.

  19. Great find, Erik and great review too. The Titanic is such a fascinating story — I like that there are profiles of real people in the book — makes the story all the more real.

  20. Awesome choice, Erik. One of my Grandpas had a ticket for the Titanic but he MISSED the boat!

    Grade ONEderful

  21. Hi Erik! I’ve seen the movie Titanic so many times, and I love it. This picture book is not only a very interesting read, but it’s also very educational! I’d definitely check our library to see if they have a copy of this book. And thanks for sharing those helpful links and resources. 🙂

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