Saturday, October 26, 2019

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman

I am always telling my students to read the back or inside cover to pick a book. I tell them not to pick it simply based on the cover. This is one time I didn't follow my own advice and I am glad I did not.  We have a surplus store not to far from us. My husband decided a week ago that I needed to go and buy some books because it had been several months since I had been there for that reason. This store buys overstock. The first one-eighth of the store, right inside the doors is their book section. I can buy books that are regularly $17-$18 for  As low as $2-$3. Most of these are hardback books. Sometimes they are the third or fourth in a series and I must go elsewhere to purchase the first ones. Since we recently read Maus and did a Holocaust study in my high school credit class I have kept my eye out for books about World War II. I have a student who is quite an expert on this war. So, when I came across this book and read the title I put it in my cart.

This was a story unfamiliar to me. I am aware that during wartime they had the Kindertransport that took predominantly Jewish children away from parts of Europe that the Nazis were beginning to take control. There was an effort I was unaware of until this book. The CORB was an organization that took both poor and wealthy children and relocated them to Canada. From there some went to live with relatives or friends either in Canada or the United States.

The passenger ship SS City of Benares was one of these ships. There were 406 people on board this ship.   This passenger ship was torpedoed and sank in 30 minutes. Only 148 people survived. This book tells the story of many of those courageous people. It shows how hope, determination and sometimes just human decency can mean everything when it comes to survival. The author has done a tremendous amount of research and her bibliography is so informational for people like me who would like to learn more. It was truly one of the best books for kids I have read on this time period. I highly recommend it.

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