Non-fiction kids’ books are great.
One of Charlesbridge Publishing’s newest books, The Great Molasses Flood is on a particularly unique topic [what, you weren’t planning an entire unit study around the Great Molasses Flood of 1919?] but would be great to integrate into broader studies.
The Great Molasses Flood is just interesting, period. On January 15, 1919, a tank of molasses exploded, sending shards of metal flying and releasing a 40-foot wave of dark, flowing molasses that collapsed buildings and coated the North End of Boston. Kops uses a number of personal stories in telling her story; find yourself in the shoes of poor Mrs. O’Brien, who opened a door to find her entire building moved down the street, among those helping with the sticky, long, clean-up, or telling your testimony along with other survivors.
Falling squarely in the intersection between the “weird disasters” category, the “this-is-an-example-of-how-historical-research-is-done” category, and the “early modern period of history” category, Deborah Kops uses primary documents, archival photos, and a narrative re-telling that will put you right in the midst of the action. Set into the broader early-modern context of 1919, students will find it interesting how the effects of broader events they’ve read about elsewhere—World War I, early waves of immigration, women’s suffrage, the struggle over improved regulation, prohibition, and the anarchist movement—played out in the face of one disaster. It’s one thing to read about how and why events happened, and their direct aftermath. It’s quite another to see the unique, localized ways in which they affected ordinary people. With the scent of molasses only fading from Boston in the mid-1990s, Kops’ Great Molasses Flood presents a contextual, localized history that is brought into the present day.
102 indexed pages, library-reinforced hardcover with dust jacket. Sepia-toned pages and archival photographs. Ages 9-12.