Cerullo, Mary M. 2009. SHIPWRECKS: EXPLORING SUNKEN CITIES BENEATH THE SEA. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525479680 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 8]
Mary Cerullo’s fascinating book describes a ship’s life after it sinks. This nonfiction title focuses on the stories of two lost ships and the underwater sanctuaries they now provide for marine plants and animals. The author draws interesting parallels between the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that sank off the coast of Florida in 1700, and the Portland, which was lost in an 1898 snowstorm during an overnight trip between Boston and Portland, Maine. While their roles were quite different in the past, both ships now support new life on the ocean floor. Cerullo’s meticulous research details every step in a marine archaeologist’s process from the initial discovery efforts to preservation.
The author includes a nice variety of helpful reference aids, including further reading lists and websites for United States Marine Sanctuaries. A section devoted to the roles of African Americans on both ships ties the two stories together well. Amazing full-color underwater photographs will capture the attention of readers, both for the wreckage artifacts and the flourishing marine life protected by the ships’ remains.
This book would complement a study of marine conservation, nautical history, or even African American history. The author’s well-documented research provides an excellent classroom resource. Young people will also enjoy taking action by applying Cerullo’s suggestions for protecting ocean life.
Other books about the ocean written by Mary M. Cerullo:
DOLPHINS: WHAT THEY CAN TEACH US. ISBN 9780439140379
LIFE UNDER ICE. ISBN 9780884482475
OCEAN DETECTIVES: SOLVING THE MYSTERIES OF THE SEA. ISBN 9780739812365
SEA SECRETS: TINY CLUES TO A BIG MYSTERY. ISBN 9780977960392
By Kimberly C. Kinnaird