A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lauren Tarshis's I Survived series is captivating, emotional, and historically accurate. The kids in these stories face scary situations in their first-person accounts of the disasters; they're often alone, hurt, and in an unfamiliar place. But because almost everyone around them is trying to help the kids survive or find their parent, once the worst is over, the overall feeling from the books is optimistic. The end of each story of survival gives a glimpse into the post-disaster life of the family and ends with an upbeat note.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The I SURVIVED series follows children navigating some of the most memorable disasters of our time. From the eruption of Pompeii and the sinking of the Titanic, to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Joplin, Missouri, tornado, this series describes the sights, smells, and sentiments of life before, during, and after each chaotic moment. The kids take cover in a ditch to avoid burning wind from the Mount St. Helens volcanic eruption, or help orphans escape the Chicago fire, or watch Titanic sink in the freezing ocean. Readers are dropped into the lives of kids their own age, into disasters they've likely never faced.
Is it any good?
Since we already know that each of these disasters is, well, a disaster, the beauty of these books is in the enthralling storytelling. The I Survived series is about epic disasters, but it also tells the human stories that are glossed over in history books. Many of the kids in the stories have recently lost a parent, adding another emotional layer to the terror they face navigating the 1871 Chicago fire, or the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. These stories are fast-paced, tense, full of accurate historical details, and show kids' bravery and resilience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about disaster preparedness. While some of the disasters in the I Survived series aren't likely to happen to most readers (the Titanic sinking, for example), knowing what to do in case of a fire, earthquake, or tornado is an important family conversation.
What must it have been like to try to get away from these disasters? Are there any cases where it's better to stay put?
What other books have you read or heard of that are set in disaster zones?
- Author: Lauren Tarshis
- Illustrator: Scott Dawson
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, History, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic
- Publication date: June 1, 2010
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 7 - 10
- Number of pages: 112
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: January 24, 2020
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