Overboard: Survivor Diaries
Terry Lynn Johnson, Author
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fiction, Jul. 4, 2017
Suitable for Ages: 7-12
Themes: Whale-Watching, Boat Capsizing, Cold-Water Survival, Survival Skills
Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Travis and his family are on a whale-watching tour off the coast of Washington when disaster strikes. The boat capsizes, throwing everyone into the ice-cold, chaotic waves. Separated from their families and struggling to stay afloat, Travis and twelve-year-old Marina must navigate the freezing ocean water. It will take all of their grit and knowledge to survive.
Why I like this book:
Terry Lynn Johnson has penned a fast-paced adventure series for children about survival in extreme elements. Overboard is the first book in the series, with Avalanche!, Lost! and Dust Storm! to follow. Pen and ink drawings add to the drama at sea.
The plot is realistic, engaging and the tension palpable. Overboard focuses on Travis and Marina using skills they know after their site-seeing boat capsizes in icy waters and on shore until help arrives. What do you do first? How much time do you have before hypothermia sets in? How do you stay calm? What skills do you need most?
I predict this series will have huge kid-appeal because the element of danger and the universal need to know what to do if you are unexpectedly caught in a situation where your life depends upon what you know.
This is an inspiring and important survival series for kids and families to read together. It is also an excellent classroom book that belongs in every school library.
Resources: At the end of the book are U.S. Coast Guard-approved cold-water survival tips. Once you’ve read the book, Johnson has set up a survival game on her website. Make sure you play the game!
Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Ice Dogs, is a real-life survival expert. She is also the author of the Survivor Diaries Avalanche!, Lost! and Dust Storm! She has lived in northern Ontario, Canada, for more than forty years. She’s a conservation officer with seventeen years experience working in remote areas and cold-water environments, and has trained with the Canadian Coast Guard. Follow Terry on her website.
Check other Middle Grade review links on author Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.