A Terrible Tide

Second Story Pr. Sept. 2021. 208p. pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781772602111.
Gr 3-7–On November 18, 1929, Celia was celebrating her 13th birthday when her small village on Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula felt the tremors of an earthquake that was the precursor to a tidal wave of tsunamic proportions, resulting in the total devastation of her small community. Told in episodic journal form through the eyes of Celia, this narrative is filled with all the emotional highs and lows a survivor endures in the midst, and aftermath, of a natural disaster. The historic notes with black-and-white photographs of the actual town heighten the gravity of this historical fiction novel. Readers will observe the degree of resilience, courage, and bravery needed when Celia chooses to overlook petty differences and band together with others for survival’s sake, while waiting for help from the outside world. Through significant research, Meade provides insight into the history and voice of one of the many towns on the coast of Newfoundland that experienced the tragic event nearly a century ago. During these current pandemic times, Meade has added to the list resources that can help middle graders cope with survival trauma, providing a model of hope and connection in fearful circumstances.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers who revel in nuanced disaster accounts such as Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Ninth Ward, Riel Nason’s The Town That Drowned, and Ann E. Burg’s Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown.

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