This is one of the 2012 winners of the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award:
The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf (Candlewick, 2011)
Here is a Digital Trailer for THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT created by graduate student April Izard.
Here is a Readers' Guide for THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT by graduate student Melissa Hassell.
Wolf, Allan. 2011. The Watch that Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic. Candlewick Press. ISBN: 978-0763637033
Recommended ages 12 and up
Summary of Book
The Titanic disaster has captured imaginations for decades. Flowing and lyrical poems shared in The Watch that Ends the Night gives readers a realistic view into what passengers on the ship saw, tasted, felt, and experienced on that fateful voyage. From third class to first class to crew members even to the rats, readers are able to read a collection of poems and peek into the Titanic. The poems allow readers to experience the disaster from many different points of view. Wolf gives the iceberg a voice, bringing to life an often mentioned, but rarely thought about piece of the tragedy. From the mighty and powerful to the foreign immigrants, each person on the ship had a different experience.
Booklist starred review; “A masterpiece.”
The Horn Book; “Wolf's novel in verse gives voice, through first-person accounts, to a cross section of passengers and crew on the Titanic: how they boarded, why they're there, and how they face the disaster. . . . The themes of natural disaster, technology, social class, survival, and death all play out here.”
Kirkus starred review; “…a lyrical, monumental work of fact and imagination that reads like an oral history revved up by the drama of the event.”
Publishers Weekly; “Wolf constructs a richly textured novel in verse that recreates the Titanic's ill-fated journey, predominantly through the voices of her passengers... Wolf's carefully crafted characters evolve as the voyage slides to its icy conclusion; readers may be surprised by the potency of the final impact.”
• Junior Library Guild selection
• A 2012 BEST FICTION FOR YOUNG ADULTS Nominee, American Library Association
• 2012 Claudia Lewis Poetry Award Winner
Questions to Ask Before Reading
Invite students to consider the following questions about the story:
• Look at the cover of the book and think about the title The Watch that Ends the Night what can you as a reader infer from those elements?
• What schema do you have for a story about the Titanic? (previously read books, movies, etc.)
• Think about and discuss the emotions that children on the Titanic would feel before the journey begins…when the ship sets sail.
Suggestions for Reading Poems Aloud
• p. 79; 109;155; 193; 228-229 divide the class into groups of 4, give them copies of the text, have students choose parts and recreate the poems from “Frankie’s Gang.”
• p. 268; 274; 335 “The Rat” Students should work together to create props and sound effects for the rat and then share their interpretation with the class.
• p. 225 “The First and Third Class Promenade” divide the class into 2 groups and choral read the poem.
• p. 186-188 have partners interpret and read the poem about dragons in the ocean.
Follow Up Activities
• Students can create a poem for one of the characters in the story. This could be from the character’s point of view at any time during the voyage.
• Have students create a travel brochure about the Titanic.
• Tie the book to a discussion about icebergs- How they form? Where are icebergs mainly located? How do they move?
• Create word problems using the statistics about the ship, passengers, and life boats at the end of the book.
• Locate on a map the route that the Titanic took. Students can label their own map and trace the route of the ship.
• Create a timeline of events marking the important dates pertaining to the Titanic’s voyage.
• Have students create dioramas or large murals of the Titanic. Each student could choose a different character from the story and create a diorama depicting their poem.
• Have students use a poem from one character to create illustrations for the poem and then compile them to create a classroom or library book.
• If you have an orchestra or strings department on your campus (or know of a local orchestra) see if they can come and play the songs mentioned in the book.
Related Web Sites/Blogs:
[This is the author’s website. On the news tab there is a book trailer created by Kristen Seholm.]
[History.com brings the story to audiences with 3 choices- “Birth of the Titanic” “The Disaster” and “After the Titanic.” This is an interactive website with photos, timelines and other information about the disaster.]
[This website is listed in Titanic: Voices from the Night as a resource for the author. Students can find information about passengers, crew, and survivors.]
[This teacher’s guide provides activities, photos, and lesson plans for the artifact exhibit that traveled the country several years ago.]
Building Titanic IPad App- created by the National Geographic Society download this app for videos, photos, and information from the disaster.
Poetry books about sailing, the sea and the Titanic:
Shoulders, Debbie and Michael. 2001. T is for Titanic: A Titanic Alphabet. Ill. By Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen. Sleeping Bear Press: Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Sturges, Philemon. 2005. Down to the Sea in Ships. Ill By Giles LaRoche. G.P. Putnam’s: New York.
Nonfiction books about the Titanic:
Chrisp, Peter. 2011. Explore Titanic. Barron’s Educational Series: Hauppauge, New York.
Hopkinson, Deborah. 2012. Titanic: Voices from the Disaster. Scholastic Press: New York.
Osborne, Mary Pope. 2002. Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #7: Titanic A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House: Tonight on the Titanic. Ill. By Sal Murdocca. Random House Books for Young Readers: New York.
Stewart, Melissa. 2012. National Geographic Readers: Titanic. National Geographic Children’s Books: Washington D.C.
Fiction books about the Titanic:
Osborne, Mary Pope. 1999. Magic Tree House: Tonight on the Titanic. Ill. By Sal Murdocca. Random House Books for Young Readers: New York.
White, Ella Emerson. 2010. Dear America: Voyage on the Titanic. Scholastic Press: New York.