Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 (Teacher's Guide)


Blizzard of Glass

Halifax, the largest city of Nova Scotia, Canada, has a story to tell.  Fourteen bells in a memorial tower ring part of the tale.  In the city hall clock tower, the locked-in-place hands on the clock that faces north freeze a moment of the story, left as it was on that long ago day.  A museum containing grim reminders and libraries filled with age-old pages share more.  The people of Halifax add chapters to the story each time they speak the memories of those who lived–and died at the time.  Old scars are hidden by sturdy stone houses, and tall trees line remade streets.  But the roots of the story are still there, and they grow deep.

On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One ship was loaded top to bottom with munitions and one held relief supplies, both intended for wartorn Europe. The resulting blast flattened two towns, Halifax and Dartmouth, and killed nearly 2,000 people. As if that wasn't devastating enough, a blizzard hit the next day, dumping more than a foot of snow on the area and paralyzing much-needed relief efforts. Follow the members of five families as they experience this terrible event and struggle to rebuild their lives in the aftermath.

What reviewers said:
“Riveting.” — Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Halifax does indeed have a story to tell, but Walker once again proves that it’s her consummate gifts as a storyteller that breathe life into the tale.” — Horn Book Magazine

“The well-designed volume clearly depicts the extent of the devastation in both words and photographs . . . . As usual, this author's source notes and use of primary sources serves as a model of nonfiction writing.”— Shelf Awareness

“Disasters make for gripping reading, and this account of the huge explosion of a munitions ship and its devastating effects in Halifax Harbor, Canada, in 1917 tells the dramatic history with clear detailed facts.” — Booklist

Awards & Honors:
• ALA Notable Book
• Best Children’s Books of 2011 - Kirkus Review
• Junior Library Guild Selection
• Parents’ Choice Recommended
• 2014 Rebecca Caudill Award Nominee
• 2013 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award nominee
• 2013-2014 Michigan Great Lakes Great Books Award
• 2013-2014 Young Hoosier Award Master List
• 2013 Maine Cream of the Crop Master List
• 2011 VOYA Nonfiction Honor List


 ISBN 9780805089455hc; 9780385361545 audio Henry Holt and Co.

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