The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Natural Disasters- December 2008

Selected and annotated by Corrie Ball


Brown, Don. All Stations! Distress!: April 15, 1912: The Day the Titanic Sank; written and illus. by Don Brown. Flash Point/Roaring Brook, 2008 (62p) Gr. 3-6.
When it comes to ocean ice fields, even the “unsinkable” Titanic has trouble navigating the waters. Brown’s beautifully illustrated book discusses the Titanic’s voyage from start to finish, following the survivor’s stories until they are rescued.

Clark, Joan. Snow; illus. by Kady MacDonald Denton. Groundwood/House of Anansi, 2006 (32p) 4-6 yrs.
After snowing for an entire month, Sammy’s neighborhood transforms into a white world. While Sammy explores the newly formed snow mountains, he imagines what could be hiding beneath them.

Cobb, Vicki. I Face the Wind; illus. by Julia Gorton. HarperCollins, 2003 (34p) 4-7 yrs.
Through a series of experiments, Cobb explains how wind works in kid-friendly ways.

Deem, James M. Bodies From the Ash. Houghthon, 2005 (50p) Gr. 5-8.
August 24, 79 AD, Mt. Vesuvius erupted, destroying Pompeii, a city of 20,000 inhabitants belonging to the Roman Empire. Using fascinating photographs, Deem gives a detailed explanation of the volcanic disaster and the archeological excavation of Pompeii.

Fenner, Carol. Snowed In with Grandmother Silk; illus. by Amanda Harvey. Dial, 2003 (80p) Gr. 2-4.
Ruddy is not looking forward to spending 10 days with hoity-toity Grandmother Silk, but when a huge snowstorm causes the power to go out, Grandmother Silk and Ruddy find they have more in common than they ever realized!

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Uprising. Simon, 2007 (346p) Gr. 7-10.
During the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory strike of 1911, three women form an unlikely alliance. When a fire consumes the factory, immigrant workers Yetta and Bella and upper class Jane try to survive, but only one escapes alive. This historical fiction novel includes a detailed authors note and bibliography.

Hatkoff, Isabella. Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship; by Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu; illus. with photographs by Peter Greste et al. Scholastic, 2007 (40p) Gr. 2-4.
After the 2004 tsunami separated the young hippo Owen from his family, a 130-year-old Aldabra tortoise named Mzee became his adopted mother.

Hill, Elizabeth Starr. Wildfire!; illus. by Rob Shepperson. Farrar, 2004 (66p) Gr. 2-4.
Despite drought warnings on TV, Ben lights a firework on the Fourth of July, causing him and his friends to get caught in the middle of a raging wildfire.

Hurst, Carol Otis. Terrible Storm; illus. by S.D. Schindler. Greenwillow, 2007 (32p) 5-8 yrs.
Hurst’s beautifully illustrated story tells the tale of two old men reminiscing about the Blizzard of 1888.

Jennings, Richard W. Mystery in Mt. Mole. Lorraine/Houghton, 2003 (144p) Gr. 4-7
When Vice Principal Farley disappears and strange noises and grey smoke start coming from Mt. Mole, Andy Forrest, 13, decides to investigate.

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie. Nora’s Ark; illus. by Emily Arnold McCully. HarperCollins, 2005 (32p) 5-7 yrs.
This charming book shows how Grandma’s house, high on the hill, quickly becomes a safe haven for the community’s human and animal residents during a Vermont flood.

Krishnaswami, Uma. Monsoon; illus. by Jamel Akib. Farrar, 2003 (32p) 5-8 yrs.
A young girl longs for the monsoon rains to arrive and take away the heat of summer.

Kroll, Virginia. Selvakumar Knew Better; illus. by Xiaojun Li. Shen’s, 2006 (32p) 6-9 yrs.
Kroll tells the true story of Selvakumar, a brave dog who leads a seven-year-old boy to safety during the tsunami of 2004. This beautifully illustrated book includes an author’s note, which includes additional information about the event.

Layton, Neal. Hot Hot Hot; written and illus. by Neal Layton. Candlewick, 2004 (32p) 4-7 yrs.
Two adorable mammoths living in the ice age are faced with an unbearably hot summer.

Malone, Peter. Close to the Wind: The Beaufort Scale; written and illus. by Peter Malone. Putnam, 2007 (40p) Gr. 4-7.
This fascinating book takes readers on a tour of the Beaufort Scale, from the calm 0 to the hurricane force 12, describing each number of the wind scale in elaborate detail.

Markle, Sandra. Rescues! Millbrook, 2006 (88p) Gr. 4-6.
From severe cold to earthquakes, fires, tsunamis and hurricanes, this book has it all!

Mastro, Jim. Antarctic Ice; by Jim Mastro and Norbert Wu; illus. with photographs byNorbert Wu. Holt, 2003 (32 p) Gr. 3-5.
Beautiful full-color pictures document life on the coldest place on earth.

McCaughrean, Geraldine. The White Darkness. HarperTemptest, 2007 (384p) Gr. 7-12.
Sym is a teenage girl who is convinced she is love with Captain Titus Oates, a man who died 90 years ago in a doomed expedition to the South Pole. When fate grants her a trip to Antarctica with a greedy uncle, she struggles to survive.

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Blizzard’s Wake. Artheneum, 2002 (212p) Gr. 6-9.
During a horrible blizzard in 1941, 15-year-old Kate finds herself sharing a shelter with the person she hates most, the man who killed her mother in a drunk-driving accident.

Paterson, Diane. Hurricane Wolf; written and illus. by Diane Paterson. Whitman, 2006 (32p) 5-8 yrs.
This cute story follows the story from preparation to aftermath of a Cat2 (category 2)-level hurricane. Paterson uses cute diagrams and unique explanations to explain the nature and vocabulary of hurricanes to kids in a way that is easy to understand.

Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life As We Knew It. Harcourt, 2006 (337p) Gr. 6-9.
When a meteor hits the moon and causes a shift in gravity, it causes natural disasters all over the world, including devastating tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Miranda takes note of events in her diary as things go from bad to worse, causing her family to pull together and find creative ways to survive.

Pratchett, Terry. Nation. HarperCollins, 2008 (336p) Gr. 7-10.
After an intense month spent preparing on boy’s island, Mau is returning to his village for the ceremony that will officially mark his entrance into manhood when a huge tsunami wave leaves him clinging desperately to his canoe. When he arrives back at the island, he finds he is the lone survivor of his people, but he finds Daphne, a shipwreck survivor, and together they try to rebuild the community.

Provoost, Anne. In the Shadow of the Ark; tr. by John Nieuwenhuizen. Levine/Scholastic, 2004 (368p) Gr.9-12
Provoost has produced a new version of the biblical flood story, narrated by Re Jana, the concubine who Noah’s son Ham sneaks onto the Ark. This fascinating story explores the complications of creating a massive boat in the middle of the desert that will provide safe housing for every known animal species.

Sandler, Martin W. Trapped in Ice!: An Amazing True Whaling Adventure; illus. with photographs. Scholastic Nonfiction, 2006 (176p) Gr. 4-8.
This is the story of the rescue of 32 whaling vessels that ignored Inuit warnings of severe winter and became trapped in treacherous ice floes.

Schaefer, Lola M. An Island Grows; illus. by Cathie Felstead. Greenwillow, 2006 (40p) 4-7yrs.
Schaefer has created a cute and simple story illustrating the formation of a volcanic island, providing more detailed information at the end of the book.

Singer, Marilyn. Central Heating: Poems about Fire and Warmth; illus by Meilo So. Knopf, 2005 (40p) Gr. 5-9.
From raging forest and prairie fires to the playful fire of birthday candles and the spicy “fire” of chili peppers, Singer covers a wide range of “fire” topics, presented in red text and illustrations.

Smelcer, John. The Trap. Holt, 2006 (176p) Gr. 6-10
When Johnny Least-Weasel’s grandfather doesn’t return home from checking traplines, Johnny gets worried. While he decides whether to risk the Alaskan subzero weather to search for him, his grandfather, caught in a trap, struggles to survive.

Taylor, Theodore. Ice Drift. Harcourt, 2005 (224p) Gr. 5-8.
Brothers Alika and Sulu are hunting for seals in the Arctic, when the ice cracks and their ice floe breaks away from their island, leaving them struggling to survive against nature as they float for six months down the Greenland Strait.

Trueman, Terry. Hurricane. HarperCollins, 2008 (144p) Gr. 4-7.
When Hurricane Mitch is unleashed on Honduras in 1998, Jose’s family huddles inside until the storm is over, but when they emerge they discover that they are one of the few families who have survived the storm and mudslide. Jose finds himself scrambling to do everything he can to help.

Welsh, T.K. The Unresolved. Dutton, 2006 (150p) Gr. 9-12.
Fifteen-year-old Mallory may have been one of the 1300 passengers who died when the General Slocum caught fire in 1905, but that doesn’t stop her ghost form from investigating the fire’s origins.

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