"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"History Can Get Sticky!"

From the Boston Globe Archives
Published in today's Boston Globe was this picture from the Great Molasses Flood.  The images of the destruction from the event are incredible. The Great Molasses Flood occurred in 1919, but as a child in the 60's and 70's, I swore I could still smell the molasses on hot days.
From The Boston Globe Archives
"History can get sticky," so says Deborah Kops in her inscription inside her latest book, The Great Molasses FloodSticky indeed. Kops does an excellent job of creating context for The Great Molasses Flood for today's young readers.

Read what this fifth grade student had to say:

The Great Molasses Flood
Boston, 1919

            "All of my favorite books before reading this were fiction, but after taking in all the amazingly descriptive text and seeing all the vivid photographs of the event I added a nonfiction book to my list. The author does an amazing job describing exactly what happened during the event. In the past, I had seen a play done on the molasses flood, but had never really understood what it was all about. In the book, there are many quotes and different perspectives of all involved. The story begins before the flood and ends six years later- spanning the entire event. I think everyone old enough to understand what was going on would enjoy this, my dad liked it too. There are small portrait pictures and full two page scenes rolled beneath your eyes. Between these extraordinary photographs and the stunning text, The Great Molasses Flood Boston, 1919 is definitely a book to read."

Archival photograph.
The story begins by stepping into the routine of one of the cast of characters -- with whom the reader had become familiar in the preface -- and within a few paragraphs, the reader is immersed in history.  The people and the neighborhood come alive.  It is now lunch hour, January 15, 1919.

Kops' research allowed her to give the readers a full picture of the Flood and its impact on the people and neighborhood.  Told in a suspenseful manner, the reader is drawn past the flood and into the legal battle that ensued after its wake.  Part history, part mystery this local Boston event will appeal to readers both near and far away.

Interested in the specifics? 
I loved:

~~the map at the beginning of the book  

It creates a necessary and invaluable visual reference for readers.  Even knowing the neighborhood, I referred back to it often.

~~the statistics

The size of the tank, the amount and weight of the molasses and many other elements are broken down and explored.

~~the photographs

They speak the volumes that words could never achieve.

~~The sidebar descriptions 

They provide additional background and context for understanding the flood.

~~The cast of characters 

Kops introduces the main players prior to the beginning of the story making it easy to refer back for clarification.

~~The overall presentation of the book

The weight and color of the paper, the color and style of the typeface all enhance the reading experience and help establish the time and setting.

Want to know more?

Check out Deborah Kops Webpage for more information.

Check out The Boston Globe Archives

Visit the Charlesbridge Website for interviews and more.

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