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Hale, Marian.
New York : Holt, 2006
IL 5-8, RL 5.8
ISBN 0805075852

(2 booktalks)

Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

The year is 1900.  The dawn of a new century.  Seth knows how he wants to make his living but his father has other ideas.  Seth is a good carpenter and loves the feel of the wood and the satisfaction of building.  But his father wants him to become a doctor.  The move to Galveston is being made so Seth will have more opportunities to become a doctor.  But before school begins for the fall, Seth is given a job on a building crew and he is loving it.  He has decided to tell his father that he will not go to college but will stay on the building crew.  But before he can talk to his father, the wind picks up, the rain begins and Galveston is hit by the worst hurricane it has ever seen.

Booktalk #2

It is August in the year 1900 and seventeen-year-old Seth Braeden is moving with his family from Lampasas to Galveston. Seth’s father has described Galveston as the New York City of Texas. He has high hopes for his three sons to be doctors and Galveston has a medical school. Instead, Seth wants to be a carpenter, just like his father.

Seth is offered a job as a carpenter’s assistant for the remainder of the summer and he is overjoyed. He is ready to prove to his father that he is a capable carpenter and that is his special calling. Seth works happily alongside Zach, Frank, Charlie and Josiah, the other young men who work for Mr. Farrell.

One September day, Seth sees storm clouds forming and sees the storm flag up. He finds the dark, churning sky alarming, but no one else does. Since he is new to Galveston, his uneasiness is relieved when none of the residents seemed concerned. Later that day, the weather worsens, and Seth sees buildings topple from the waves and wind. It is the Galveston storm of 1900.

Seth survives the storm and then searches for his family and friends along with his friend, Josiah. Death and destruction are everywhere. Seth reunites with his family and discovers he is one of the few lucky ones whose family was spared. It is time to rebuild life and home.

I found this book interesting because of the vivid descriptions of Galveston before and after the storm. Those who have a feel for the Galveston streets and layout will be able to relate to the many details of the island. It is a story that will also be enjoyed by those who enjoy stories about survival.  (Melissa Bowman,, Armstrong Middle School,  Lone Star Book Award nominee, 2008-2009)

SUBJECTS:     Hurricanes -- History -- Fiction.
                        Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
                        Family life -- Texas -- Fiction.
                        Race relations -- Fiction.
                        Carpentry -- Fiction.
                        Galveston (Tex.) -- History -- 20th century -- Fiction.
                        Historical fiction.

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