I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 (I Survived Graphic Novels)

Written by Scott Dawson
Review by Melissa Warren

Reluctant readers are not reluctant thinkers. Lauren Tarshis understands that her action stories and their graphic adaptations are often the first choice for struggling readers, but Tarshis does not pander to her audience; she celebrates it.

Through the eyes of a ten-year-old farm boy, George, Tarshis explores the lives of the people brought together by the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Mischievous George relishes the splendor of his aunt’s stateroom on the Titanic, but he is drawn to passengers in steerage. He strikes up a friendship with two Italian immigrants while exploring the ship. However, his sister is horrified by his antics, and her attempt to stop George ends with the children and their aunt locked in steerage as the ship sinks.

The seamless integration of text and art in this adaptation of the novel of the same name creates an immersive experience. Images of crew members locking gates and pointing pistols at helpless families challenge readers to consider the deadly impacts of classism. While the happy ending is appropriate for young readers, it does not treat them as reluctant or struggling. It treats them as human.