Sunday, January 1, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Lost and Found: The Titanic and Other Lost Ships

Lost and Found: The Titanic and Other Lost Ships
written by John Malam
2011 (QEB Publishing)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Check out Nonfiction Monday at The Nonfiction Detectives

You can count on a handful of topics that will get the attention of older elementary readers. Gross animal facts is on that list. Another favorite is shipwrecks which means The Titanic and Other Lost Ships is bound to turn heads in your classroom. Six vessels that were lost at sea are featured in this book. Of course, the headliner is The Titanic. All you have to do is whisper its name and at least five students will immediately grab the book from your hand. Other familiar names to me include The Atocha, Civil War submarine The H.L. Hunley, and the Mary Rose. Two unfamiliar ships, The Geldermalsen, and HMS Edinburgh, add to my shipwreck knowledge repertoire. Each section starts with a two page spread that explains the sinking of each vessel. There is a combination of text, illustrations, photographs, and a cool fact paragraph insert. The next two pages of each section explain how each ship was found. One of my favorite facts concerns Keith Jessop and the other divers who recovered gold from the HMS Edinburgh. Not only did they bring up 431 gold bars, but they also recovered unexploded bombs. How does one do this without completely losing their nerve? I am also fascinated by how 170,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain were recovered from the Geldermalsen.  It seems the porcelain was preserved by tons of tea that was also on the ship at the time of its demise. These cups, dishes, and saucers were preserved for 233 years.

The Titanic and Other Lost Ships would be a good resource for a small research project. You could ask a student to create a chart that included categories like How It Was Lost, Methods of Restoration and Valuables On Board. You can also use this book to teach nonfiction text features and teach the skills of comparing and contrasting. For example, why do The Titanic and HMS Edinburgh sink? How are they the same and how are they different in the way that they end up on the bottom of the ocean? What could have been done to avoid these catastrophes? Lost and Found: The Titanic and Other Lost Ships will add to your knowledge of shipwrecks and raise new questions as well.


  1. I agree that this book will surely be a popular one with the kids. I read your review hoping to find reference to the SS Morro Castle, which was on my mind after a trip to Asbury Park yesterday. It caught fire in 1934, killing 137 people, and eventually beached itself in Asbury Park where there is a memorial stone. It seems to be scarcely remembered. A topic for a new book perhaps.

  2. You should write that book, Lisa! Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Hi Jeff! What a timely post. My family and I have just recently attended this Titanic Artifact exhibit that's ongoing here in Singapore at the Art and Science Museum - they also showed the behind-the-scenes making of the Titanic the movie - as produced and directed by Spielberg. The entire exhibit was just so magnificently done. Truly an amazing experience. Will check this book out since my ten year old daughter is definitely interested in Titanic now.


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