City-ravaging fires. Seemingly never-ending blizzards. Lava-spewing volcanoes. With best-selling author Lauren Tarshis’s popular I Survived series, there’s a story to capture the attention of every student.
As each story in the series is tied to a catastrophic event from the past and told through a fictional first-person perspective of a child who narrowly escapes with their life, there’s an extraordinary tale of survival for every season, too! A great way to introduce important historic events or time periods to your students, these 4 books will thrill your young readers with each turn of the page.
Fall: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871
It may be difficult for your students to imagine an entire city like Chicago burning to the ground, but in this harrowing story about a young boy’s struggle to survive one the most infamous fires in American history, they will. After reading, ask students to research contemporary natural disasters and write not only about the toll they take on communities, but how these natural disasters also bring people together to rebuild and overcome the destruction.
Winter: I Survived the Children's Blizzard, 1888
Reading this terrifying tale, your students will become engrossed in the story of 11-year-old John Hale, who overcomes the peril and struggle of being lost in the blinding snow to survive one of the deadliest blizzards in American history. To inspire a lively class discussion after reading, encourage students to reflect on John’s story and consider what they would do if they ever found themselves lost in a blizzard and how they would feel once they reached safety.
Spring: I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980
Your students will be awestruck by this frightening account of a young girl forced to escape clouds of poisonous gas, boiling rivers, and landslides of rock, ice, and debris as Mount St. Helens erupts with fury. After reading, ask students to consider what they would do if a volcano erupted and lava began flowing through the streets of their town. What would they do to survive?
Summer: I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
This American Civil War story is perfect for summer reading and keeping your students engaged outside of school, too. They’ll be fascinated by the story of Thomas, a young slave from South Carolina who escapes the south and slavery through the Underground Railroad, only to find himself in the midst of one of the most harrowing and famous battles of the Civil War. To further engage students, encourage them to research other young slaves who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and reflect on the experiences and the struggles they had to overcome to achieve freedom.
Looking for even more stories from the I Survived series to introduce your students to historic events and natural disasters and keep them engaged in reading all year long? Check out more top titles from The Ultimate I Survived Series Book List!