Am the I only one seriously disturbed by these


May 12, 2009
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I've come across a TON of badly written (and illustrated children's books about the Titanic (and all seem to have a fixation on the words "smart" and "grinned" for some reason) that always show some young boy/girl travelling steerage with their large family and when the ship strikes the iceberg and sinks, the whole family boards a lifeboat and have a sickeningly sweet epilogue aboard the Carpathia.

Right, because it is a WELL KNOWN FACT that most families in steerage survived and were reunited aboard the Carpathia! I mean, sure, some books have a tacked on piece of dialogue where one of the characters says "Oh, we're so lucky to survive! So many others did it." But it's still a cop out!

How sheltered do we want our children to be? If you consider them too young, then simply don't educate them about the Titanic disaster instead of exposing them to these tacky horrendously illustrated and written pieces of dreck!

The only thing I find more annoying than tacky children's Titanic books are tacky children's Holocaust books that shows a bunch of fictitious brats hiding in cellars and attics with their whole families in Germany and surviving all the way to 1945. But I won't even go there, lol!

Hope some people here will sympathise with me regarding this! :)
 
May 12, 2009
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Whoops! I meant to say that these books tack on an ending when one character says "We're so lucky to survive. So many others DIDN'T." Haha... That's what I meant. It's still horribly condescending and tacky, however!
 
May 1, 2004
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Evguenni,

The only Titanic book for children I've read is "Polar, the Titanic Bear", the child being Douglas Spedden, a first cabin boy whose family did survive. It had an 'afterward', written for adults, that gave Douglas's biography, saying he did not live to adulthood.
Please list the titles of the "TON" you read.

I was eight or nine when I saw "The Time Tunnel" episode which ignited my interest in the sinking. I already knew the song "It Was Sad When the Great Ship Went Down". I wasn't distressed about "little children lost their lives" because I did not know until the TV show that the sinking wasn't fiction. After that, I was shaken; but I wanted to know what happened. My librarian gave me "A Night to Remember". I read it, felt sad about Lorraine Allison (such a cute little girl, just like my dear old dolly) and very proud of Major Peuchen (It was something to a kid to be near a place where such an intrepid man lived.) It wasn't morbid. It was a growing up experience to learn that children die. I felt that the librarian respected my developing maturity, loaning me the book.
I don't think toddlers should read about death. They aren't prepared for it. But when a child is school age, they will encounter death (a pet, another child, a grandparent, a bird on the street.) I think reading about the Titanic sinking, about Lorraine or a fictional child, will stir feelings and questions that will help prepare them for when Death hits them hard.
 
May 12, 2009
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Well, one I definitely remember is "Titanic: Lost and Found."

Many are named simply "Titanic." They are too cheaply published and designed to be remembered, but if you go to any Titanic exhibit in the US, you'll see the gift shops flooded with them. Terribly condescending and shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as "Polar."

Seriously, if they don't want to expose minors to death and/or peril, they could at least make their stories more plausible and place them on 1st or 2nd Class instead of steerage. Otherwise, it's just offensive to numerous immigrants who never stood a chance on the ship. And how will a child ever be introduced to the concept of dying through the book if EVERYONE the book mentions manages to survive?

There are a couple of Titanic children's books about Ruth Becker's (the Avis Dolphin of the Titanic saga, it appears) ordeal (Like "Exploring the Titanic" and "Finding the Titanic," both by Robert D. Ballard, but probably ghost written by a professional children's dramaturg) conclude with her and her whole family being reunited, but that was a historical fact, so it's not really sugar coating anything.
 
Nov 9, 2008
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Just for argument's sake....

The same thing could be said about any given subject. There are always the good children's books written on a certain subject and there are always books written that are terribly wrong on offensive.
Both Exploring the Titanic and Finding the Titanic are expellant books to get a child started on the subject, but there are some really bad Titanic books written on the Titanic, like one called Titanic's Cat or something like that and I saw one recently about a pig on Titanic. Hey lets face it if a publisher thinks they are going to make some money off the book then they'll publish it no matter how bad it is.
So I guess you have to read some bad books to get to the good ones.
 

John Clifford

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First off, this includes a SPOILER.



At least one book, "Titanic Crossing", has the two children survive the sinking.



However, their widowed mother and their uncle both die in the sinking. That impact is felt on both the children, who are then left to be cared for by their paternal grandmother.
The children have their future to look to, but the story's ending is not one of "sacrifice made for them" or "they lived happily ever after".
 
May 12, 2009
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Ah! "Titanic Crossing," first Titanic fiction book I ever read! Their mother dies because she sneaks to steerage to find a suffragette friend of hers and the uncle goes looking for her, neither of them make it.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Evgueni,
re tacky children's Holocaust books - if you haven't read it, try The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It's for early teens really, but every adult I've met who's read it thinks it's simply terrific, and a completely different approach. Don't know what the film is like, but even just equalling the book will be very hard.
 
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Holly Peterson

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Up until I revised my still-in-progress Titanic chapter book, I was guilty of writing exactly one of the kinds of books you described, Evgueni. Lacking the heart to have a single main character die, I instead had the main character and her entire family of both parents, two little sisters, and two little brothers, all survive and have some sappy reuniting on board the Carpathia. In addition, while on board the rescue ship the main character manages to convert the stereotypical snobby first-class teenage girl into a more kind individual and tops it all off with some cheesy speech about each individual's worth despite their class, earning a round of applause from every single steerage passenger who survived. All right, the story still has the 'sappy reuniting' bit, but this time, her family's narrowed down to only herself, one brother, and a father, as well as a younger sister who died of sickness before the story began; plus, the Goodwin family, who feature heavily in the story, also are lost. The first-class girl's discriminatory attacks on the main character are also downplayed into a level of silent superiority, and she is revealed to be mature and well-educated, not just a pampered brat. I'm trying my best not to portray all the first class/crew as cowards and the third-class as heroes, by introducing some real-life characters who made both poor and brave choices that night (thank gosh I'm not publishing this or their descendants would sue me.) Speaking of sueing, or rather, Sues in general, I also took several on line tests to make sure that my main character isn't a literary 'Mary Sue,'(a fictional character who everyone loves for their stunning beauty, amazing personality, many talents, etc. who saves the day, gets the guy, and manages not to get a hair out of place in the process) like all the other heroines in stories I've written. I'm working really hard to revise my story and make it more believable; in this one, the characters have human flaws, and not all the lesser problems are magically resolved in the end. But I was only 12 when I began the rough draft of this story. Sorry if this post went completely off track.
 
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Holly Peterson

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Her mother isn't on board; she's already in America. Her father survives on Collapsible B.
 
May 12, 2009
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This is purely nitpicking... But back then immigrant fathers would head to the New World to make a living and then send for their wives and children, it's pretty illogical that the mother would travel to the US first.
 

Allan Wolf

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It IS possible for the wife to travel ahead of the husband, especially if there is extended family already in the States. Jamilia Nicola Yarred and her brother, Elias, were traveling with their father to join their mother in Florida. Also, I think that Jamilia's father owned and operated the village mill in Lebanon, so it may have actually been more profitable for him to stay a while longer while the wife established a residence. Just a thought.
 

Kyrila Scully

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As a professional writer, I am also appalled by the attempts to soften the violence of terrible historic events for children. For instance, young children needed some information about the reality of 9/11. They needed to know that hundreds of planes did not crash into buildings, but that only three planes crashed into buildings and one plane crashed to the ground in an attempt to save people in buildings. These children kept seeing the films repeat on the news for weeks, of the planes crashing into the twin towers and the Pentagon, and in their little minds, they couldn't process that they were watching the same film over and over--they thought each showing was a new plane crashing into a new building. This is why the news departments stopped showing the videos -- too many parents complained about how their children were reacting to it. Children are very much aware of what goes on in the world, and they need correct information presented in a way they can process. I applaud Maria Schriver and Jamie Lee Curtis for writing books about difficult topics such as racism and Alzheimer's and other subjects in a simple and truthful way for young children.

I have advised many young people who want to write books about Titanic, but they do not listen to me. They thank me and then tell me I am wrong about their story---their story is perfect and who am I to tell them to edit out their favorite parts because of a little problem with the credibility of their theme? So I stopped giving advice. I figure they need to receive a few rejection notes to understand what it was I was trying to convey to them. And it's not just young people--older "writers" have chucked my advice aside as well. Personally, if my story is bad, I want my writing mentors to be brutally honest and tell me how to correct it--that only makes me a better writer and my story a better entertainment for my readers.
 
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Holly Peterson

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I am a young writer who is currently writing a chapter book, not to be published, about the sinking. I would gladly accept any help of yours, Kyrila! In fact, I would gladly appreciate it, as long as it's merely constructive criticism, that is, and not just an attack on the overall theme or plot of the story. Do you have any pointers or tips for a story by a teen for teens regarding the Titanic? My main worries are about how likeable the main character will be without making her into a Mary Sue type, and making the story realistic but engaging as well. The story does deal with death - her 2 family members on board with her survive, but all 8 members of the Goodwin family are lost, and her sister had died previous to the story.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Children are very much aware of what goes on in the world, and they need correct information presented in a way they can process. <<

I think that sums it up nicely. Children don't need to be coddled in the name of "protecting them."

Really, protect them from what?

They are a lot more attuned and aware of some of the uglier realities of life then we give them credit for and so long as they can tune into CNN, they'll stay attuned and aware.

What they need is not protection but a sense of preportion. That way, they know that hundreds of planes are not doing Kamikaze dives into skyscrapers, but they understand about the three that did.
 
Feb 7, 2007
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About two years ago, I wrote a story about seven little girls in third class aboard the Titanic. The story started a bit before the girls left for Southampton, and they met eachother on the Titanic so you get to know them very well. They all died, along with their entire families.
I showed that story to a friend of mine, who was 7 at the time. She was, I must say, a bit traumatised. At least she knew the truth about the sinking though, because until then her knowledge of the Titanic was "badly-written" books where everyone survives.
Sorry if this is off-topic. Just to say that there is indeed no need to protect children from all those "dramatic, sad stories that might terrify them"...
 

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