Friday, March 22, 2024

Homeschool Friday - I Survived the Wellington Avalanche 1910

Homeschool Friday is a feature here at Somewhere Only We Know that showcases books my family reads during homeschool and provides a mini-review for each.

I Survived the Wellington Avalanche, 1910 (I Survived, # 22)

By: Lauren Tarshis

Publication: September 6, 2022 by Scholastic Inc.

144 pages

Genre: Children's, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Adventure

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--The Wellington snow slide of 1910 was―and still is―the deadliest avalanche in America’s history. Lauren Tarshis's story of one child surviving the frozen nightmare pounds with page-turning action and heartwarming hope. The snow came down faster than train crews could clear the tracks, piling up in drifts 20 feet high. At the Wellington train depot in the Cascade Mountains, two trains sat stranded, blocked in by snow slides to the east and west. Some passengers braved the storm to hike off the mountain, but many had no choice but to wait out the storm. But the storm didn’t stop. One day passed, then two, three . . . six days. The snow turned to rain. Then, just after midnight on March 1, a lightning storm struck the mountain, sending a ten-foot-high wave of snow barreling down the mountain. The trains tumbled 150 feet. 96 people were dead. The Wellington avalanche forever changed railroad engineering. New York Times bestselling author Lauren Tarshis tells the tale of one girl who survived, emerging from the snow forever changed herself.

Since I started homeschooling my kids, I have been looking for ways to increase the time we spend on books while also trying to get my 6-year-old son interested in reading. Audiobooks have helped us a lot. We mostly listen to them in the car while we're jetting around running errands. And it helps to cut down screen time and boredom in the car. I'd seen the I Survived series, but this was the first one I got for us to listen to. And it was a good choice.

Lauren Tarshis starts this book at the actual avalanche to build intensity and suspense. And then she backtracks seven days. Our main character is Janie, who is an orphan being used by a crime boss to run stolen goods for him. She doesn't have many choices as she has no other family or means of providing for herself. Her handler gets arrested, and Janie uses this opportunity to try to escape like her friend Bash did a while back.

The other passengers think it is odd for a young girl to be riding the train unaccompanied, and several take Janie under their wing. She befriends a young boy about her age named Frederick. She still has the stolen jewels on her, and she hasn't figured out what to do with them yet.

My kids asked me if Janie was a real person. Because this was my first experience with the series, I didn't think so, but I wasn't sure. Lauren Tarshis does explain what was fact and what was fiction in her author's note at the end of the book, which we listened to as well. I wanted my kids to hear about how much work goes into creating a story like this in hopes that they might learn that things they might think are easy aren't always so.

My son did ask me to find a book with a male main character for our next book, and I think I've found just the one. Even with Janie being a girl, her storyline of jewel thief would appeal to readers of both genders. My children (minus the three-year-old) certainly enjoyed the story. I give I Survived: The Wellington Avalanche, 1910 4 Stars. Have you read (or listened to) this book? If so, what do you think? Let me know!

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