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ICEBERG by Jennifer A. Nielsen


by Jennifer A. Nielsen ; illustrated by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Pub Date: March 7th, 2023
ISBN: 9781338795028
Publisher: Scholastic

A young girl stows away on the Titanic.

Twelve-year-old narrator Hazel Rothbury arrives in Southampton on April 10, 1912, only to discover she doesn’t have enough money for a ticket. Hazel is bound for factory work in America, leaving behind the family farm. She sneaks aboard inside another passenger’s trunk, and a young crewman finds her an empty cabin to stow away in. Sylvia, a first-class passenger Hazel’s age, and Mrs. Abelman, a former governess, befriend her. Hazel dreads the thought of the factory and wishes to be a journalist—an aspiration that reflects her questioning, curious personality. Hazel’s determined and occasionally inopportune questions allow Nielsen to deftly deliver myriad details that point to the looming disaster. These include the nature of icebergs, the refraction of light on calm seas, and the construction of the Titanic and its preparedness for emergencies. Hazel herself has an opportunity to observe human nature at close range, as she realizes both of her friends may be the targets of thieves and tries to intervene. When Hazel and Sylvia are locked in a cargo hold, the stakes seem very high. The astonishing acts of heroism, and a few of cowardice, that accompanied the sinking of the ship and the rescue of a fraction of its passengers become part of Hazel’s story. Most characters read White; there is passing mention of four Chinese passengers, but other non-Europeans do not appear.

Page-turning historical drama.

(photo credit, author’s note) (Historical fiction. 9-13)