Thursday, April 14, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on April 14, 2011
Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian

Into the Mist: The Story of the Empress of Ireland, by Anne Renaud, 103 pages.
Many people are unaware that the Empress of Ireland, a liner which sunk in the St. Lawrence River in May, 1914, suffered a greater loss of passenger life than the Titanic, lost two years earlier.
On its many crossings of the Atlantic, the elegant Empress of Ireland had carried more than 115,000 European immigrants to Canada - people of all ages and economic backgrounds who hoped to establish new lives on Canadian soil. These people settled in cities, towns, and rural areas across Canada. Some became farmers; some worked in mines or lumber camps; some became factory workers or clerks. Several groups of home children arrived in Canada via the Empress, and some well-known names – such as John McCrae, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Robert Baden-Powell – had traveled on the liner. The Empress of Ireland played a significant role in the building of Canada, and should be remembered for this legacy as well as for the story of its tragic sinking.
In the early morning fog of May 29, 1914, the Empress collided with a Norwegian coal ship, the Storstad. Badly damaged, water poured quickly into the liner. In a mere 14 minutes, the Empress of Ireland sank. A grim total of 1,012 people died in the icy water of the St. Lawrence River. 172 of this total were crew members; 840 were passengers.
Photos, a glossary and short newspaper excerpts are included in this fascinating, informative book, which would appeal to both children and adults.
** Recommended for ages 9 years and up.

Trouble on the Voyage, by Bob Barton, 220 pages.
@ SPL:  J FIC Barto
Like a tiny speck imprisoned in a vast world of white, the Henrietta Maria sat through most of the summer of 1631, surrounded and trapped by the ice of Hudson Strait. Not until August 6 was it able to break free to search for a northwest passage – but with the coming winter, the ship would have to leave Hudson Bay by early October. Failure to do so would mean spending the winter in the inhospitable, frigid Arctic north – a feat that the crew feared would be impossible.
Unfortunately, because of damage to the ship and various other circumstances, the crew of the Henrietta Maria was forced to attempt the impossible.
Twelve-year-old Jeremy, a cabin boy, was on the ship, and his account of that desperate winter is riveting and unforgettable.
The men lacked many essential supplies – even boots were in short supply. As the long winter dragged along, most of the crew suffered horribly from scurvy as well as from the never-ending cold. Some crew members died, and the threat of mutiny was always in the air.
Miraculously, the following summer, the surviving crew members were able to restore the Henrietta Maria enough to transport them back home to England. Jeremy was among them.
The fascinating story of the Henrietta Maria is based on a real expedition that sailed to Hudson and James Bay in 1631 to search for a northwest passage to China, carrying a crew of 20 men and two boys.
Bob Barton is an Ontario author, storyteller and former teacher.         
** Recommended for ages 9 years and up.

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