Everyone is Talking About: I Survived!

Welcome to Everyone is Talking About, a new feature on the Johnson Elementary School Learning Leopard Library blog that features books and series that students just can’t stop talking about! Check out our Everyone is Talking About posts to learn more about some of the most commonly checked-out, requested, and reviewed books in the Learning Leopard Library.

This week, Everyone is Talking About the I Survived series, written by Lauren Tarshis. I Survived is a truly innovative, creative, and exciting series because it makes history come alive in a completely unique way for readers. Tarshis has put a new spin on historical fiction by mixing first-person narrative with detailed illustrations that transport readers directly into some of history’s biggest disasters. All eight books center around ground-breaking historical events (think: the Japanese tsunami in 2011, the attacks of September 11, 2001, or Hurricane Katrina in 2005) and place the reader on the front lines of the melee. Each book introduces students to a new character, living a normal life – until disaster strikes. The reader gets to follow along as the book’s characters struggle to escape, recover, find their loved ones, or do whatever it takes to survive.

Lamari, a 3rd grade student at Johnson, just finished his first book from the I Survived series: I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912. Lamari said he was surprised that the book was so interesting and fast-paced. “I loved it,” he said. “I learned a lot of facts but it also told a really good story.” Lamari likes adventure books, but hasn’t read too much about the Titanic before. When asked if he was interested in reading the rest of the series, Lamari quickly nodded. He said he would be coming back to get the next book in the series as soon as possible. He also told me that he would be recommending the book to all of his classmates. “I would definitely suggest this to a friend. It was so good.”

Many students have an interest in historical events, but are intimidated by the text-heavy nonfiction books that tell about them. With I Survived, Tashis gives even the most reluctant readers an opportunity to peek into history. For many students, these short, fast-paced novels are a segue into further reading and research. The whole I Survived series is a must-read for history buffs and story lovers alike.

when I asked Lamari to describe the I Survived series in one word, he didn’t hesitate – he said “I would say AWESOME!” Book reviewers agree with Lamari’s review of the series, saying that the quick pace and exciting details of the series are sure to interest a wide range of readers. In its review of I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001, Booklist states that “Expressive illustrations capture the drama of the storm and its aftermath, but the book’s real power comes from its exploration of what it means to be a hero.” Meanwhile, Kirkus reviews praises Tarshis’ ability to end books about the darkest of moments with a positive, optimistic feeling.

If you’d like to learn more about Lauren Tarshis and the I Survived books, visit the I Survived page on Scholastic.com here. You can find the entire I Survived series in the Johnson Library’s What’s New in the Johnson Library? display. A special thank you goes to Lamari for his help!

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