Shipwrecks: Exploring Sunken Cities Beneath the Sea

Overview

An exploration of two strikingly different shipwrecks

For those who know how to interpret its secrets, a sunken ship has many tales to tell. The stories of the lives of those aboard its last voyage are revealed in the objects scattered around the shipwreck. Then there are the stories of the many ocean creatures that have found a home inside the broken hull.

Two shipwrecks, separated by two thousand miles and two centuries, share a common ...

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Overview

An exploration of two strikingly different shipwrecks

For those who know how to interpret its secrets, a sunken ship has many tales to tell. The stories of the lives of those aboard its last voyage are revealed in the objects scattered around the shipwreck. Then there are the stories of the many ocean creatures that have found a home inside the broken hull.

Two shipwrecks, separated by two thousand miles and two centuries, share a common history of life, death, and rebirth. The first is the Henrietta Marve, a slave trader that sunk off Florida in 1700. The second, an elegant steamer with crew members from a thriving middle-class black community in Maine. Each of their stories starts with underwater exploration, one a search for fabled gold, the other for families lost at sea. Find out what underwater explorers discovered in these sunken cities beneath the sea.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Trisha Blalack
This nonfiction book tells the story of two distinct shipwrecks that occurred nearly two hundred years apart. The Henrietta Marie, found west of Florida's Keys, is the only documented slave ship ever discovered in the Northern Hemisphere. This ship carried 190 African slaves from Nigeria to Jamaica before being devastated by a tropical storm in 1700. The wreckage yielded hundreds of ankle shackles, in adult and children's sizes, that were used to restrain slaves as well as thin metal bars that functioned as currency during the slave trade. The second ship, The Portland, was lost during a severe winter storm off the coast of Massachusetts in 1898. This steamship carried passengers from Boston, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine. Shipwrecks become a sanctuary in the sea for a variety of marine life—corals, fishes, and predators find refuge in the wreckage beneath the sea. Cerullo delves deeper into the story of these sunken ships by bringing the reader into the majestic under-sea world that now inhabits them. Readers of this book will learn much more than the history of two shipwrecks. The author explores the nature and difficulty of underwater exploration and includes many interesting marine biology facts. The engaging information is highlighted by beautiful underwater color photographs, maps, a glossary, and reproductions of primary resources. Reviewer: Trisha Blalack
Booklist
This [book] delivers both education and shivers.
VOYA - Kristin Anderson
Cerullo explores the underwater worlds of two shipwrecks from different centuries. The Henrietta Marie was a slave ship that sunk in the Florida Keys in 1700 and now supports a tropical ecosystem while continuing to be an active marine archaeological dig. The S.S. Portland was a luxury paddle-wheel vessel that took its passengers from Portland, Maine, to Boston, Massachusetts. It was sunk in 1898 in a winter storm. The site of the wreck was found only recently, and exploration began in 2002. The wreck supports a very different ecosystem off the New England coast than that of the Henrietta Marie. The author's goal is a bit ambitious. It is difficult to cover the history of two shipwrecks plus the different ecosystems of which each is now a part in a slender, brief volume. Occasionally there are issues with the photographs. In one case, the photo does not match the caption: a photograph of a white coral is captioned as "fire coral" which is recognized by its "bright color." In another, the author provides a lengthy description of a "four-eyed butterfly fish," but the photograph is of a different type of butterfly fish altogether. This title will also pose a cataloging challenge as its subject is about equally split between marine biology and history. Although the book has an intriguing hook and is attractively packaged, it will likely get lost on library shelves. Reviewer: Kristin Anderson
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Stunning images of undersea life including sunken ships, tropical fish, and marine exploration highlight this diverse work packed with information ranging from the discovery of the sunken slave ship Henrietta Marie to discussions of the wondrous array of sea life that makes its home within such wreckage. Cerullo describes the assortment of knowledge and technologies employed by oceanographers such as side-scan sonar and ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicle), and shows how ocean currents aid in their search for hidden treasures. One such treasure discussed is the immense, Victorian-style wooden steamship Portland that sank off the coast of Massachusetts on November 26, 1898. The work culminates with an insightful discussion of how readers can get involved in the preservation of these environmental sanctuaries. Combining well-captioned photos, bold text, and a fluid narrative covering a range of ocean life from manatees to zooxanthellae (one-celled algae living in the tissues of reef-building corals), Cerullo has produced a unique look into these underwater communities. Interesting topics, detailed sidebars, and eye-catching photos will draw in readers with an interest in ocean life.—Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525479680
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/10/2009
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 1,409,206
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1180L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary M. Cerullo lives in South Portland, Maine.

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