SOS Titanic (Hardcover) by Eve Bunting. Harcourt Children’s Books, 1996 1st ed.
ISBN: 0152002715. pp: 256.
Ages: 12 and up, gr: 6-9


Fifteen-year-old Barry O’Neill parts with his home in Ireland and the grandparents who raised him to board the Titanic for the journey to finally live with his parents. This historical fiction interweaves the friction of Barry’s emotions, class conflict, and foreshadowing of the inevitable disaster. A brief afterword serves as a "reality check" outlining the tragedy of the Titanic.


Language Arts:
Debate the fairness of "women and children first." Is this policy followed in disasters today? What are alternatives?
Barry intends to read The Last of the Mohicans to learn about life in America. Read a synopsis of The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper to see if you think that you would like to read the book.
The survivors of the Titanic landed in New York on the Carpathia Thursday, April 18, 1912. Read the newspaper description. Write a final chapter for SOS Titanic in which Barry tells of this day.
Social Studies/Reading:
Immigrants seeking to become citizens of the United States today are required to take an Oath Of Allegiance. Read the oath. List any words that are difficult for you. Look up the meaning of each listed words. Write an interpretation of the Oath of Allegiance substituting easier phrases for the difficult words.
Social Studies/Speaking:
(Class activity) Conduct a mock trial using the guidelines and resources at AKO: Titanic Trial to learn about the Judicial System in the United States. Note to teacher: The Teacher’s Guide is essential for planning the organization and assignments to maximize student learning from this activity.
Titanic Facts: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the RMS Titanic has all kinds of number facts. Make up word problems based on number facts from this list.
Read about icebergs. Create a mini-poster entitled "Ten Things You Probably Don’t Know About Icebergs".
Read about songs played on the Titanic. Listen to historic recordings of songs about the Titanic.
Examine the illustrations in On Board the Titanic, and/or explore the photographs of the Titanic taken by Frank Browne. Then look at a picture created by a modern day student. Create your own illustration of the Titanic.

About the Author


More for the teacher

The Titanic is a usable theme for a reading center due to the wealth of resources on this topic for all levels. The following books could be a starting point.

Selected reading about the Titanic.

On Board the Titanic: What It Was Like When the Great Liner Sank by Shelley Tanaka, paintings by Ken Marschall, 1996. Hyperion Books for Children, 49 pages, grades 5-9l ISBN: 0613110188
Paperback - I Was There: On Board the Titanic, 1998. Hyperion. ISBN: 0786813180
A similar theme to Bunting’s book has 17-year-old Jack Thayer returning to America with his parents. The story weaves in some of the same real-life characters, and the circumstances of survival are similar. The photos and drawings add reality to the story.
Polar the Titanic Bear by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden, illustrated by Laurie McGaw, 1994. Little Brown, 64 pages, grades 3-6. ISBN: 0316806250
When Douglas Spedden was given a toy bear, he named in Polar. Mrs. Spedden kept a diary and photograph albums of their lives and travels, including the voyage back to America on the Titanic. View the family photograph album.
Pig on the Titanic by Gary Crew, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, 2005. Harper Collins, 32 pages, grades 1-4. ISBN: 0060523050
The Titanic story is told by another toy who made the voyage.

Nonfiction (363.1)

Exploring the Titanic by Robert D Ballard. Scholastic (Reprint edition, 1988). 64 pages, grades 1-12. ISBN: 0590419536
Paperback - Exploring the Titanic: Scott Foresman Reading Classroom Library (Time Quest Book). ISBN: 0590419528.
Covers the building, voyage, sinking, and exploring of the wreck 74 years later.
See if your school library has the November-December 2004 issue of National Geographic Kids Magazine and read the article about the Titanic.
David G Brown became fascinated by his research into original documents related to the Titanic, resulting in his publication of The Last Log of the Titanic, which attempts to separate fact, memory, and myth. Available for purchase as an ebook download.

Links to other online guides for SOS Titanic.


SOS Ttanic
Accelerated Reader: Quiz #14492 EN; Book Level 4.5; Points= 6.0
Book Adventure (Sylvan): Quiz Level 7
Reading Counts: Reading Level 6.5; Points= 4.0
Lexile Level 690
Guided Reading Level T

Other related books: