A World War II Story of a Sinking Passenger Ship and Two Children's Survival at Sea
By Cheryl Mullenbach


176 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF, Trade Paper

Cloth, $17.99 (US $17.99) (CA $23.99)

ISBN 9781613738245

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Sep 2017)


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A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2018 When 14-year-old Florence Kelly and 11-year-old Russell Park left their hometowns for summer vacations in Europe in 1939, they considered themselves awfully lucky. Many of their friends' families were struggling during the Great Depression and couldn't afford fancy trips. But the young pair would soon face life-threatening troubles of their own as it became clear German dictator Adolf Hitler was intent on invading neighboring countries. With tensions high, Florence, Russell, and their families cut their holidays short as many Americans scrambled to book passage back to the States. Safely aboard the luxurious passenger liner the S.S. Athenia, travelers settled in and breathed a sigh of relief. Surely, it was believed, the sleek, menacing German U-boats lurking in the Atlantic Ocean would never attack a passenger ship . . . would they?  Torpedoed! vividly re-creates the events surrounding the attack on the Athenia, the first ship lost in the battle of the Atlantic. Through firsthand accounts, interviews with survivors, and powerful photos, award-winning author Cheryl Mullenbach brings to life the prewar environment in America and Europe, the anxious days leading up to the surprise attack, the frantic rush to escape the sinking ship, and the long, terrifying night that Russell, Florence, and others spent in churning lifeboats battling the elements and imagining the worst.  At once a gripping adventure story and a rich resource for history lovers, Torpedoed! provides page-turning thrills and inspiring real-life examples of courage and resourcefulness in the toughest of circumstances.


"A gripping tale of disaster at sea." —Laura Woollett, author of Big Top Burning: The True Story of an Arsonist, a Missing Girl, and the Greatest Show on Earth

"An engaging, sometimes-harrowing account of the first casualty in what became known as the Battle of the Atlantic." —Kirkus Reviews

"Mullenbach's descriptions of the torpedo strike and subsequent rescue efforts, laced with survivors' first-person accounts, are immediate and chilling." —Publishers Weekly

"Loaded with personal details and stories, this true-life survival tale will increase interest in the Second World War."—School Library Journal

"both a gripping adventure story and a rich resource for history buffs."—Learning magazine

Author Biography

Cheryl Mullenbach is the award-winning author of Double Victory, The Great Depression for Kids, The Industrial Revolution for Kids, and Women in Blue. She is a former history teacher, librarian, public television project manager, and social studies consultant. She lives in Panora, Iowa.