I Survived: The Hindenburg Disaster, 1937

Written by Lauren Tarshis
Review by Lorraine Norwood

Tarshis’s latest installment in the I Survived series for ages 7 to 10 recounts the horrors of the Hindenburg disaster in May 1937 in New Jersey, when the massive German airship caught fire while attempting to land. Thirty-five people were killed. On board the Hindenburg is Hugo Ballard, an 11-year-old boy traveling to America with his parents and little sister, Gertie. In the course of the four-day journey, Hugo encounters a spy fleeing the Nazis, fears for the safety of his sister, who becomes critically ill, and is caught in the fireball of the disintegrating airship, barely escaping the disaster.

The theme of the series is resilience: how the main character can struggle through the most horrific experience and yet survive, ultimately healed in both body and spirit. Written in a straightforward but fast-paced style, and seen through the eyes of the young person who is eyewitness to the disaster, the books bring history to life for the reader. The books are broken into small but exciting chapters which always end on a hook. Even reluctant readers should be enticed by these page-turners. Tarshis has included a bibliography, extra resources, and additional facts about the Hindenburg at the back of the book. Highly recommended.