Hot Best Seller

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"

Availability: Ready to download

A true account of the attack and sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares, which was evacuating children from England during WWII. Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation A true account of the attack and sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares, which was evacuating children from England during WWII. Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set sail for Canada with one hundred children on board. When the war ships escorting the City of Benares departed, a German submarine torpedoed what became known as the Children's Ship. Out of tragedy, ordinary people became heroes. This is their story.


Compare

A true account of the attack and sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares, which was evacuating children from England during WWII. Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation A true account of the attack and sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares, which was evacuating children from England during WWII. Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set sail for Canada with one hundred children on board. When the war ships escorting the City of Benares departed, a German submarine torpedoed what became known as the Children's Ship. Out of tragedy, ordinary people became heroes. This is their story.

30 review for Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"

  1. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    The author did a great job in her research and then putting it in a gripping true story that will want you to keep those pages turning. I really like the format that Deborah Heiligman uses to tell this story. Thanks to Goodreads/author for sending me this book for an honest review in return.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sunday

    EDGE-of-your-SEAT READ. Brilliantly written. Heiligman's research is thorough but the brilliance is in how she weaves it all together to tell this riveting story—a tragic and courageous adventure our grades 5-9 students will not forget. Chapters 1-6 introduce the reader to the time period, the context and many of the children aboard the ship City of Benares. There were ninety traveling through a government relocation program (CORB) with adult escorts and then several others traveling with family EDGE-of-your-SEAT READ. Brilliantly written. Heiligman's research is thorough but the brilliance is in how she weaves it all together to tell this riveting story—a tragic and courageous adventure our grades 5-9 students will not forget. Chapters 1-6 introduce the reader to the time period, the context and many of the children aboard the ship City of Benares. There were ninety traveling through a government relocation program (CORB) with adult escorts and then several others traveling with family or family-hired escorts. Their families made the hard decision to send them to the safety of Canada or the U.S., away from the German bombs falling on England. The ship is a fascinating experience for the children as they wait a few days to leave and then begin the journey. Heiligman shares plenty of enchanting details about the children's enjoyment of the ship - the games they played, the endless availability of ice cream eating and so forth. Amidst her introduction to the context of the story, Heiligman also introduces the debate over how to keep this ship with so many children safe - whether the ship should identify itself as carrying so many children or not, whether it should be escorted by war ships or not, whether it should try to move away from territory where German u-boats have sunk other ships as quickly as possible or stay with the convoy. While readers learn about the context for this voyage, they also begin to notice the danger of that period and the tension. Chapter 7 introduces the German U-boat lurking nearby. In Chapter 8+ narrates the ship being torpedoed and what follows. Heiligman's picks up speed and FULLY CAPTIVATES THE READER for the next 200 pages! (AND just a heads up, the drama of this story does not end with the rescue immediately after the City of Benares sinks because one lifeboat of survivors is overlooked.) The DESIGN OF THIS BOOK is notable for the many aspects that will appeal to 5th-9th grade readers. The chapters are mostly brief and each is broken up into short sections. In the first seven chapters there are black and white photos that give the reader just enough information to help them visualize what's going on. Then chapters 8-19 have charcoal-looking illustrations of the tragedy, struggle, courage that occurred as the ship began to sink and the passengers attempted to escape and survive. Then for chapters 20-27 there's nothing--just printed text. These chapters describe what happened to Lifeboat 12 (I don't want to give away too much). The final chapters again include actual photos of the surviving children and so forth. Heiligman’s THANK YOU notes and lists of SOURCES are worthy of reading through as well—they serve to reveal how thorough her research was and assure the reader of accuracy and authority. (Her “thank you” section has a journey at sea theme ;). I’d BOOK TALK THIS with students in late 5th – 9th grade. How? I’d read aloud the first page of chapter 1 – Heiligman describes the U-boat with the ship of children in its sights. There’s immediate tension and suspense. Your students will want to know what happens next. A note of caution, though – a lot of children died in this tragedy. I’d take this into consideration when recommending to particular students.

  3. 4 out of 5

    DaNae

    Brutal, heroic, mesmerizing, devastating.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    The City of Benares set off from Liverpool to deliver CORB (Children's Overseas Reception Board) children, their escorts, and group of paying passengers to Canada to keep them safe during the bombing of Great Britain in September of 1940. Unfortunately a U-boat fired a torpedo that hit the ship right after their naval escort had left to take on another assignment. It was a great tragedy that most passengers did not survive. The ship was not only in the midst of a terrible storm that night, but a The City of Benares set off from Liverpool to deliver CORB (Children's Overseas Reception Board) children, their escorts, and group of paying passengers to Canada to keep them safe during the bombing of Great Britain in September of 1940. Unfortunately a U-boat fired a torpedo that hit the ship right after their naval escort had left to take on another assignment. It was a great tragedy that most passengers did not survive. The ship was not only in the midst of a terrible storm that night, but also had difficulties with their lifeboats. Overall the ship lost 258 of its 406 passengers. The odds were not in their favor. For some parents the letters their children posted to them before leaving port arrived at the same time as the letter of condolences from CORB. I had previously read "Lifeboat 12" by Susan Hood which is a middle grade novel told in verse and based on the survivors in Lifeboat 12 and their extra days waiting for rescue. So I was familiar with the event, but this book gives a comprehensive and thoroughly researched account of the entire event. I would highly recommend both books as companion reads.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is an impressive piece of writing. Not just of nonfiction writing - of writing. The pacing is jerky in places, particularly in the beginning, but the writing is understated in a way that’s beautiful - that makes this work about its content, not its prose or its author. The waves kept coming. A few adults were able to grab some children and hold them above the waves, but Bess watched child after child drown right in front of her. I’d never read about this particular boat before, or about Mary This is an impressive piece of writing. Not just of nonfiction writing - of writing. The pacing is jerky in places, particularly in the beginning, but the writing is understated in a way that’s beautiful - that makes this work about its content, not its prose or its author. The waves kept coming. A few adults were able to grab some children and hold them above the waves, but Bess watched child after child drown right in front of her. I’d never read about this particular boat before, or about Mary Cornish (I’d remember if I had, she’s impossible to forget). Their stories are shocking and immersive. There’s a grimness in the subject matter that gives the book heft, makes its importance obvious. And yet the year is 1940 and this is one of many, many ships torpedoed, and a few dozen of millions of murdered children. I’m editorializing here: I think it’s interesting how, in the cover design, the words “World War II” are so much more prominent than the rest of the subtitle. World War II gives any work immediate gravitas. We carry so many impressions of it, and we bring that sense of enormity - of impact, of destruction - to every piece of media on the topic. I’m not saying that this work borrows on our preexisting knowledge - I think it acknowledges it, in telling this story. I think it says, by the simple fact of its being written, that behind every statistic is a child, and a grieving family, and a network of people who were affected. That this is a work of nonfiction, that everything in it is true, and beautifully and respectfully presented, makes it so that that these people’s deaths are not absorbed in the vastness of the twenty million deaths of the war. If the Newbery recognizes this, I will be thrilled.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    In 1940, Germany was bombing England every night, and many civilians were being killed. A group of people made the decision to send children overseas to safety for the duration of the war. One of the ships sent across the Atlantic was called City of Benares, and one hundred children were on board. A German U-boat captain, not realizing there were children on board, decided to torpedo the ship. Many people were killed at once. It was a stormy night and many of the lifeboats were precariously laun In 1940, Germany was bombing England every night, and many civilians were being killed. A group of people made the decision to send children overseas to safety for the duration of the war. One of the ships sent across the Atlantic was called City of Benares, and one hundred children were on board. A German U-boat captain, not realizing there were children on board, decided to torpedo the ship. Many people were killed at once. It was a stormy night and many of the lifeboats were precariously launched, some completely tipping over and spilling all the people into the cold waters. Some survived. These are their stories. Torpedoed was a mesmerizing read. From the start, it isn't clear who will live and who will die. Author Deborah Heiligman carefully and thoroughly researches this story and takes us right into the lives of these people as they fight for survival.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shaye Miller

    “Why does death choose some and not others?” Heavily researched and showcasing numerous individual stories, this nonfiction book details the experiences of many who were aboard the SS City of Benares, a ship carrying almost 100 children to safety (from England to Canada) during WWII. After the torpedo hit, only 13 of the 90 children survived, half the British crew died, and more than half the Indian crew died. But Heiligman shares many personal stories of the passengers, as well as personal lette “Why does death choose some and not others?” Heavily researched and showcasing numerous individual stories, this nonfiction book details the experiences of many who were aboard the SS City of Benares, a ship carrying almost 100 children to safety (from England to Canada) during WWII. After the torpedo hit, only 13 of the 90 children survived, half the British crew died, and more than half the Indian crew died. But Heiligman shares many personal stories of the passengers, as well as personal letters and details from survivor interviews. One of the most shocking portions of the book was when a lifeboat was missed during the rescue attempt. Families were contacted and told their loved ones had perished, but for at least a week, this little cramped life boat floated along with diminishing supplies, it especially lacked water. But they were finally rescued and lived to tell their tale. Sonya Beck is the oldest still living survivor at 90 years old. And one interesting tidbit shared at the end was the fact that the captain of the U-boat who ordered the torpedoing of the SS City of Benares suffered a mental collapse when he was informed the ship was carrying nearly 100 children. There was simply no way for them to know this fact, at the time. For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo! “Why does death choose some and not others?” I’ll share more once I have a day or two to let this digest. But WOW!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Henrichs

    This read like a suspenseful work of fiction. Heiligman's research is very thorough and her pacing is great. As a parent, this story was gut-wrenching. Thinking about how awful it had to be to come to the decision to send your most precious commodity away from you, overseas, to protect them in time of war, only for something as tragic as this to happen, was too much for me to process at times. There are a lot of characters to keep track of in the beginning, which was a bit challenging, but becom This read like a suspenseful work of fiction. Heiligman's research is very thorough and her pacing is great. As a parent, this story was gut-wrenching. Thinking about how awful it had to be to come to the decision to send your most precious commodity away from you, overseas, to protect them in time of war, only for something as tragic as this to happen, was too much for me to process at times. There are a lot of characters to keep track of in the beginning, which was a bit challenging, but becomes clearer by the end. The stories of Colin, and Beth, and Bess were the ones I was particularly drawn to. The image of the two girls clinging to the upturned boat is something I will not be able to get out of my head for a while. This is one of the more powerful works of children's nonfiction I have read in a long time, maybe ever.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Kim

    Difficult reading for a parent but possibly sets a new standard in children’s non-fiction, at least in demonstrating its power in the kinds of stories that are frequently fictionalized.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Well-written historical nonfiction can be just as riveting, if not more, as the latest novel. That is certainly the case here. Not only has Deborah Heiligman conducted abundant research about the sinking of the SS City of Benares in 1940, but she has included so many interesting details that these moments in history come alive, and readers race through the pages to see if anyone from that passenger ship survived. The ship was part of the Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB), a plan to send Well-written historical nonfiction can be just as riveting, if not more, as the latest novel. That is certainly the case here. Not only has Deborah Heiligman conducted abundant research about the sinking of the SS City of Benares in 1940, but she has included so many interesting details that these moments in history come alive, and readers race through the pages to see if anyone from that passenger ship survived. The ship was part of the Children's Overseas Reception Board (CORB), a plan to send British youngsters overseas so that they'd be safe from the bombs and conflict in their homeland. Ninety youngsters were on that ship, but only a handful of them survived the German torpedoes that sank the ship. Readers won't soon forget Mary Cornish, one of the chaperones for the trip or the survivors on Lifeboat 12, a custom-made child's life jacket, and a jewelry box. The careful description of how the once abundant but now limited food and water were doled out among survivors in one lifeboat heightens the tension in the book as does the friendship of two girls who help each other hang on until they're rescued. It's clear that there were many acts of heroism that emerged from this tragedy, and readers will surely finish the book while contemplating the wages of war and so-called "collateral damage" in the form of civilians. I was particularly struck by the shift in tone in the narrative as the young passengers frolic and enjoy their trip, complete with as much ice cream as they could possibly eat, during the first days of the voyage, and then how things turn frightening serious as the ship must be abandoned and they're fighting for their lives against all sorts of odds. I had never heard of this particular event or this ship, but I relished every single word in this account, partly because those individual stories make it so personal.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Heiligman is really good at writing YA nonfiction! This is shown by the numerous awards her books have won over the years. The secret seems to be that she really gets personally inside her research. For example, this book has a photo of the author with Sonia Beach Williams in the Church that Sonia, one of the few children survivors, got married in. She also credits Mrs. Williams with the philosophical comment that she kept cheerful because “I was torpedoed. I am resilient.” (p. 272). Heiligman m Heiligman is really good at writing YA nonfiction! This is shown by the numerous awards her books have won over the years. The secret seems to be that she really gets personally inside her research. For example, this book has a photo of the author with Sonia Beach Williams in the Church that Sonia, one of the few children survivors, got married in. She also credits Mrs. Williams with the philosophical comment that she kept cheerful because “I was torpedoed. I am resilient.” (p. 272). Heiligman made certain to show the people as three dimensional figures by noting that the captain of the U-boat had a mental collapse when he found out that he had torpedoed a boat filled with children. This was a complicated recounting, with many moving parts and stories of individuals to trace. Sometimes it was a bit hard to keep track of the various people involved. However, I don’t see how anyone else could have done a better job. The story was a multifaceted one. For that reason, I appreciated the list of who was who in the front of the book. If only for the concern she expressed at least 3 different times for the lack of information about the Lascars, Indian (India) men who made up a large part of the crew, this book deserves 5 stars. I hope she gets her wish and can write a new edition with more information about the “invisible” lascars! While she didn’t make a big deal about it, many children who did survive were from the paying (likely if not well to do, certainly richer than the typical CORB (Children Overseas Reception Board) child. They often had warmer clothes on and were better nourished to begin with, both of which were vital elements among those who survived. Another item that jumped out to me as an adult, not the audience for this YA book, was that not one person threatened to sue the CORB group. Some of this was the times, who sued in the middle of war? Another part was the national character: parents wrote to the CORB, asking for little mementos of their loss, and the CORB people genuinely tried to fill their request. One child’s parents asked if a wreath could be placed on the spot and the answer was that it was impossible since no one would know a ship’s route till it left because of wartime secrecy and ended kindly with advising them to consider the entire ocean a marker for their child’s memory. We Americans would be so worried about lawsuits that the kindness and empathy would have been skipped. Maybe someday we can regain the kind part of our national character. Highly recommended for true adventure stories; history on a small, tragic part of WWII; boat stories; and true stories with children as the initiators of much of the action.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Meyer

    I’ve read a number of World War II books lately, and yet this is an account I’ve never heard before. “Torpedoed” retells the tragic story of the “Children’s Ship,” which was supposed to carry British children away from harm to safety in Canada. They escaped bombings in England only to be torpedoed a sea by a German submarine. (In fairness to the German officer commanding the U-boat, he was unaware there were so many children on board and would not have fired had he known. After he heard the news I’ve read a number of World War II books lately, and yet this is an account I’ve never heard before. “Torpedoed” retells the tragic story of the “Children’s Ship,” which was supposed to carry British children away from harm to safety in Canada. They escaped bombings in England only to be torpedoed a sea by a German submarine. (In fairness to the German officer commanding the U-boat, he was unaware there were so many children on board and would not have fired had he known. After he heard the news, he was supposedly never the same after that.) To make matters worse, the sea was choppy and stormy, making it very difficult to lower the lifeboats safely. Many lifeboats took in so much water that the passengers inside were partially submerged and succumbed to hypothermia before rescue came. Some boats capsized, and a few ropes snapped while lowering the boats to the water, causing those inside to plunge into the cold Atlantic, many to their deaths. Because the sea was so choppy, the rescue boat couldn’t get there as quickly as it otherwise would have, and people were dying while waiting for rescue. When the rescue boat arrived, the storm had blown the rafts and lifeboats miles apart, making rescue even more difficult. One lifeboat was missed completely, and those inside spent eight days waiting for rescue. I was broken-hearted for the familes who lost their children (one family lost five kids!), but there were also accounts of bravery and heroism in the midst of chaos and loss. I recommend this for older children (perhaps 12 and up) and adults. It’s not a fun read, but it is an important one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tom Malinowski

    I'm always up for learning something new that's factual. My limited knowledge of kids being shipped away to be safer when England was being bombed during WW2 was in Chronicles of Narnia when the kids were sent to the countryside. I didn't know that kids were shipped to other countries as well such as South Africa, North America, and Canada. About 100 kids were put on the "SS City of Benares" headed to Canada in mid September, 1940. The ship was torpedoed by a German sub and sunk. Not everyone su I'm always up for learning something new that's factual. My limited knowledge of kids being shipped away to be safer when England was being bombed during WW2 was in Chronicles of Narnia when the kids were sent to the countryside. I didn't know that kids were shipped to other countries as well such as South Africa, North America, and Canada. About 100 kids were put on the "SS City of Benares" headed to Canada in mid September, 1940. The ship was torpedoed by a German sub and sunk. Not everyone survived. The author's research is clearly shown. She doesn't pull punches easy foreshadowing which kids do and don't make it. Absolutely amazing and horrifying.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pixie Dust

    This is a book that I would recommend (older) kids to read. It chronicles the true story of the sinking of a passenger ship during World War II – a ship carrying a hundred children, sent by the English government to refugee in Canada at the height of the war. The author does not shy from telling readers about the many deaths that resulted, but gory details are skipped over. For example, people are mentioned as being injured, but these injuries are not described. The adult reader in me wants more This is a book that I would recommend (older) kids to read. It chronicles the true story of the sinking of a passenger ship during World War II – a ship carrying a hundred children, sent by the English government to refugee in Canada at the height of the war. The author does not shy from telling readers about the many deaths that resulted, but gory details are skipped over. For example, people are mentioned as being injured, but these injuries are not described. The adult reader in me wants more details—where the injury is, how bad it is, etc., but I understand that this book is written for kids, so a sanitised version is given instead. Nonetheless, there is no lack of horror, for many people died in this terrible event. Apparently, the captain of the German submarine had a mental collapse and was never the same again after he learnt that there were so many children on board the ship he torpedoed. I wonder if the English government regretted their decision not to openly signal that the ship carried children, but I guess confidence in human nature was at a low at that point, and who knew how the enemy would react to such a signal? The story was gripping, but one problem I had was that the author tried too hard to build up the characters of too many children at the beginning of the book. There are so-and-so siblings with such-and-such a background, so-and-so best friends, etc… After a while, everyone just blurred into names. I couldn’t remember who was related to whom or how old they were. I was just reading for the excitement of knowing how the people in general survived the frigid waters and how they died or were rescued. Perhaps the writer wanted to pay tribute to the heroes of the story, and wanted to include as much detail of the people as possible, but as a narrative, it didn’t work so well for me. One thing I really liked is how cute some of the children's childish reactions are, like when they saw from their lifeboats the ship sinking and thought, what a waste of all that ice-cream! (They had been allowed limitless amounts of ice-cream on board - a luxury many of them could not have afforded back in England.) Overall, the book serves as a powerful reminder of the tragic waste of lives that war causes – something children should know about despite the heaviness of the subject.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Torpedoed reads like historical fiction. Interesting characters. Cliff hangers at the end of each chapter. Then you are reminded that this really happened and you realize that many lives were forever changed by this event. This is an important part of WW2 history that I am grateful our kids can learn about from reading this book. Very well written and easy to follow for middle grade readers. Ideal for 5th grade on up.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara A.

    Gripping story. Reminded me of the drama and pathos I encountered when I read A Night to Remember over 50 years ago. This is affecting and doesn’t spare the reader. Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarai

    I had read a book about the bombing of the City of Benares before, a fiction-based-on-historical events, so I had a bit of background on this story. The book kept me hooked. I wasn't sure at the beginning who had survived and who had not, so that brought a lot of tension to the story. I appreciated the photographs and would have preferred to see more of those rather than the illustrations (or just no illustrations even if photographs could not be found). This will be a good book for a school vis I had read a book about the bombing of the City of Benares before, a fiction-based-on-historical events, so I had a bit of background on this story. The book kept me hooked. I wasn't sure at the beginning who had survived and who had not, so that brought a lot of tension to the story. I appreciated the photographs and would have preferred to see more of those rather than the illustrations (or just no illustrations even if photographs could not be found). This will be a good book for a school visit. Book Description: From award-winning author Deborah Heiligman comes Torpedoed, a true account of the attack and sinking of the passenger ship SS City of Benares, which was evacuating children from England during WWII. Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set sail for Canada with one hundred children on board. When the war ships escorting the Benares departed, a German submarine torpedoed what became known as the Children's Ship. Out of tragedy, ordinary people became heroes. This is their story. This title has Common Core connections.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jody Timmins

    This was an extremely well-written account of an absolutely devastating event. As Roxane Hsu Feldman wrote at the SLJ Heavy Medal Blog, Heiligman shows real mastery in her pacing of the story, using foreshadowing and word choice to superb effect. I was reading this simultaneously with In My Mind's Eye: A Thought Diary and thought that Jan Morris would love this story of quiet British heroism -- she would say, English -- and deeply appreciate the quiet valor of the children who witnessed the horr This was an extremely well-written account of an absolutely devastating event. As Roxane Hsu Feldman wrote at the SLJ Heavy Medal Blog, Heiligman shows real mastery in her pacing of the story, using foreshadowing and word choice to superb effect. I was reading this simultaneously with In My Mind's Eye: A Thought Diary and thought that Jan Morris would love this story of quiet British heroism -- she would say, English -- and deeply appreciate the quiet valor of the children who witnessed the horrors of the Benares. I struggled a bit to keep track of the many children, and found myself turning often to the list of the dead, to try to keep track of them. But Heiligman does as good a job as anyone could, at presenting so many vivid little portraits of the children, and provided enough supporting documents to help me. I am deeply sorry that there's no information to be had, yet, about the lascars on board the ship and what they experienced. I appreciate the way Heiligman grappled directly with that omission in her book. I appreciated this as a nonfiction account of an event about which I knew very little. I'm even more impressed when I remember that children are the main audience, and that Heiligman told such a difficult story in a way that children will be able to understand and respect, too.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Murray

    This 2019 finalist for Excellent in YA Nonfiction award tells of the 1940 September voyage of the SS City of Benares from Liverpool, England to Canada and the aftermath of being torpedoed by a German U-Boat. There were 100 children on board the ship most of them were part of the British CORB program. The Children's Overseas Reception Board was designed to give English children a safe haven in British Territories during WWII away from the Nazi bombing campaign. The second half of the book is a su This 2019 finalist for Excellent in YA Nonfiction award tells of the 1940 September voyage of the SS City of Benares from Liverpool, England to Canada and the aftermath of being torpedoed by a German U-Boat. There were 100 children on board the ship most of them were part of the British CORB program. The Children's Overseas Reception Board was designed to give English children a safe haven in British Territories during WWII away from the Nazi bombing campaign. The second half of the book is a survival story of those on rafts and lifeboats waiting to rescued in less than ideal circumstance and what they did to prevent themselves from dying from exposure. An excellent read for Tweens (10-14 years of age) who love history, especially WWII history.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Bell

    Very good book, very informative. Lots of great research went into this. Also well-written, though at times very sad. One thing I did not like about the book was the two pages near the end where the author tried to get all philosophical. At this point, let us come to our own decisions about what war and death means... Nonetheless, great book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Riveting, as expected, by a masterful nonfiction storyteller.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Danette

    My 6 year old said, "This is going to be a sad book." It was but it was also an inspiring book of heroism and courage during a terrible disaster. Read to my children at lunch. My 6 year old said, "This is going to be a sad book." It was but it was also an inspiring book of heroism and courage during a terrible disaster. Read to my children at lunch.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    OMG, so well researched, easy to follow, suspenseful - but so devastating to read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    WOW!! Very eye-opening and worth the read. WWII has been one of my most “favorite” topics to learn about...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Glatt

    Literary nonfiction at its finest. Such hard work was put in by the other to tell this story with detail, reverence, and care. Pair with the novel in verse, Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Excellent narrative non-fiction for middle school and older. Deborah Heiligman unveils the history with just the right amount of suspense. A little known WW II story of senseless loss and unanticipated heroism.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katrina Kirilyuk

    Torpedoed, written by Deborah Heiligman, is a collection of true accounts from people that was made into one coherent story about the sinking of "The Children's Ship" during World War II. This ship, also known as SS City of Benares, was designed to transport many children from England to places such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and sometimes the U.S.. This particular route was destined for Canada. Heiligman describes the events that lead up to the event, how the German submarine bombed the Torpedoed, written by Deborah Heiligman, is a collection of true accounts from people that was made into one coherent story about the sinking of "The Children's Ship" during World War II. This ship, also known as SS City of Benares, was designed to transport many children from England to places such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and sometimes the U.S.. This particular route was destined for Canada. Heiligman describes the events that lead up to the event, how the German submarine bombed the ship, and then the aftermath. I really enjoyed reading this book because of the different points of view. Heiligman doesn't hover over one particular person or family but tells the story of different people on the ship and their families. This keeps the audience from zoning off from the repetitiveness, but instead, gives variation. Because this about the "children's ship", the story heavily focuses on the children's journey, which can allow many of the readers to relate and feel a connection between what the adolescence are going through. It would be very different if the book was out of the adults' point of view only. This book definitely made me want to cry many times. The detailed descriptions and real photographs included in the writing enhance the real story of the tragedy of World War II. "Torpedoed" keeps you on edge with the action it describes with cliff hangers after each chapter. One thing that I still have yet to decide what I think about is the fact that we know how everything turns out from the beginning so every chapter leads to the sinking of the ship. It becomes very tense because the only thing you can think about is "when will it happen?". It's intense but will give you tons of emotions while reading it!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Braden

    This book was a very good read for anyone who loves suspense and non-fiction. This book was set during World War 2 and was about the CORB children who were sent away to flee from Britain and flee to Canada. The book talks about the Torpedo that almost ended their journey and then the consequences of it. The main theme I took away from the book was hope and the book was leaving me on the edge of my seat hoping the children would return safely.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus World War II was very hard on many London families, and the opportunity provided by the Children's Overseas Reception Board was a blessing to families like the Grimmonds. There were ten children in the family, and after several nights of bombing, the family home was destroyed. Five of the younger children had been accepted into the program, and were sent off to Liverpool to board the ship even though all of their luggage had been destroyed. They ended up on the Ci E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus World War II was very hard on many London families, and the opportunity provided by the Children's Overseas Reception Board was a blessing to families like the Grimmonds. There were ten children in the family, and after several nights of bombing, the family home was destroyed. Five of the younger children had been accepted into the program, and were sent off to Liverpool to board the ship even though all of their luggage had been destroyed. They ended up on the City of Benares with other children like themselves, but also with a number of paying passengers as well as a crew of English and Indian Lascar sailors. There were also a number of educators, religious workers and other adults acting as chaperones. At first, it was a grand adventure, leaving the city and heading to sea. The ship was fairly luxurious, and the war-starved children enjoyed good food for the first time in a while, especially the ice cream. However, when the convoy in which the boat was sailing disbanded, the City of Benares was targeted by a German U Boat whose captain did not realize there were children aboard. The ship took a direct hit on a cold and stormy night, and tragedy ensued. Many were killed on impact, and those who managed to get to life boats either had trouble boarding them, or were not properly dressed for the cold. Many perished right away, but many lingered before rescue ships arrived. While there were a number of rafts rescued, raft 12 was missed. Mary Cornish, a teacher, strove bravely to keep her young charges alive for eight days on the open sea before they were finally found. This nonfiction work follows many of the passengers, detailing their experiences as well as their deaths, telling a bit about those who managed to survive. Strengths: The research on this is very complete, and I appreciated that Heiligman even tried to hunt down relatives of the Indian Lascar sailors, even though she wasn't able to find any information. It's hard for US students to understand how difficult WWII was for the British and other Europeans (as well as Pacific Islanders in that theater), and this certainly paints a grim picture. The accounts of individuals, though, makes this a very personal story. Heartbreakingly detailed, with moments of hope when some of the children survived, this is certainly a WWII story with which I was unfamiliar. Weaknesses: There are a lot of characters, so this can be a bit hard to follow. Also, I'm not sure what the final pictures and photographs will be like, but I wish there were more photographs. They probably just don't exist. What I really think: This was so intriguing that I will have to purchase a copy, and I will hand it to the students who are still oddly interested in the Titanic!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the Children’s Ship by Deborah Heilgman, 290 pages. Godwin Books (Henry Holt and Company), 2019. $20. Content: Language: PG (1 swear); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13. BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – ESSENTIAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE During World War II, many parents decided it would be safer for their children to leave England for Canada or the United States in an attempt to avoid the German bombs. When the passenger ship called SS City of Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of the Children’s Ship by Deborah Heilgman, 290 pages. Godwin Books (Henry Holt and Company), 2019. $20. Content: Language: PG (1 swear); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13. BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – ESSENTIAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE During World War II, many parents decided it would be safer for their children to leave England for Canada or the United States in an attempt to avoid the German bombs. When the passenger ship called SS City of Benares left England, it was escorted by other ships, but eventually the escort broke away and the ship was on its own. Benares was torpedoed by a German submarine and thousands of children passengers and their caregivers were left in the frigid September waters hoping to be rescued. Not all were able to survive, yet those who did had harrowing experiences. I can’t believe out of all the books I’ve read about World War II, I had never heard this story before. This is similar to Dead Wake by Erik Larson, but more horrifying because it’s a ship with largely children passengers. I couldn’t put the book down and was anxious to see who lived and their stories of rescue. The content includes violent descriptions of a burned pilot, decapitated bodies and although not graphic children do die. Reviewer, C. Peterson https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2020...

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.