If you use Scholastic book clubs, you might (like me) collect a lot of points. I use them to order books for the classroom, and it is well worth the bookkeeping it takes. This year, I have been really trying to keep an eye on non-fiction or at least realistic fiction, knowing that I need to keep adding those kinds of texts with the shifts our state is going through with the Common Core. On our last order, this bundled collection of “I Survived …” books caught my eye (quick: cue up Gloria Gaynor … or Cake).
Although I thought they were non-fiction (maybe I need better reading skills), the series is actually realistic fiction of survival. The bundle includes stories about shark attacks, the Titanic and Hurricane Katrina. I decided to jump into I Survived Hurricane Katrina, just to get a taste of the story by Lauren Tarshsis. I liked it. While somewhat simple and perhaps lower reading level than my students are used to, the story of an 11 year old boy who gets separated from his family during the storm, clings to trees and debris to survive, helps rescue a stranded dog, and then himself is rescued by a good samaritan made for a fast-paced adventure story.
I also appreciated the end notes by Tarshis, where she talks about the inspiration for the book (including her anger at the government for not protecting New Orleans and then not doing enough, quick enough, to help survivors) and provides lots of facts about Katrina and its aftermath. I could see a lot of research exploration around hurricanes, government policy and planning, survival and hardship, and more with this book.
Peace (in the rising tide),