Author Jennifer A. Nielsen visits The Bookworm of Edwards on March 8
- What: Iceberg with Jennifer Nieslen
- When: Wednesday, March 8th, 6:00 PM
- Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., unit C101 Edwards, CO 81632
- Cost: FREE
- More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit BookwormOfEdwards.com
There are few authors that write excellent historical fiction for 8 to 12-year-olds, and one of the best is Jennifer A. Nielsen. Her books introduce kids to important past events like the building of the Berlin Wall and the two world wars. Next week she will be visiting some of the local schools to teach them about the Titanic, and she will be going to the Bookworm for a free public event on Wednesday, March 8.
Join the Bookworm in celebrating the new release from New York Times bestselling author. Nielsen’s new middle-grade book, “Iceberg,” is a historical fiction survival thriller about a stowaway on the Titanic. There will be snacks, book signing, and giveaway prizes.
Nielsen loves learning about history, but she also believes it’s vital for young people to learn about it too. “History is a cycle, a continuous loop of the same kinds of things that happen over and over again. Once we understand the patterns of history, we can anticipate the future,” Nielsen said. “And when we do, we understand that we have been through hard times before, we have done difficult things before – which means we can do difficult things again. History is the way we learn that we don’t have to be afraid of the future, and the way we learn to navigate our future.”
Historical fiction is not the only way Nielsen teaches kids how to navigate their future. She has a robust fantasy series, “The Ascendence Series,” that inspires kids to build whatever future they want. “Aristotle was once asked which was more important to learn: fiction or history. He said fiction, because with history we learn what has happened, and with fiction we learn that anything can happen. I believe our young people need both,” Nielsen said. “Fantasy teaches children to imagine; it empowers them to believe in themselves as powerful people — people who can make a difference in their world — or sometimes even to save the world. If history empowers us to face our future, then fantasy books empower us to believe we have it in us to create a better future.”
Whether your child likes reading historical fiction or fantasy, Nielsen’s new book will teach them things about the Titanic they didn’t know before, much like Nielsen when she did the research for the book. “I thought I knew the Titanic story, but I didn’t know the ship was on fire when it left Southampton. I didn’t know about the potential flaw in the bulkhead design, about the numerous warning messages on the final day on ship,” Nielsen reflected. “The best parts of the story come in the details. No single decision led to the Titanic sinking, but had only one of dozens of minor incidents been any different, then history might have been very different.”
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Nielsen gathered many of these details from first-person accounts from that period in history. “I began with a book from 1912, ‘Sinking of the Titanic,’ by Thomas H. Russell. I wanted to understand the way that people thought about the tragedy in the year that it happened,” Nielsen said. “I also looked at modern research and theories that have evolved over the years, testimony from the survivors, and the many pictures and images from the time period. I want readers of ‘Iceberg’ to feel as if they are learning the story of the Titanic again for the very first time.”
Although this book is chock-full of historical details about the Titanic, it also contains an important symbolic message. “The most important message of the book is symbolic, and it’s the idea of the lifeboats. Because every one of us is at times in a situation where we are simply trying to stay afloat, whether the threat is stress or trauma, or personal or family issues,” Nielsen reflected. “The ultimate message of the book is a reminder to find a lifeboat. That may be a parent or teacher or a trusted friend, but we never need to face these things alone. When life gets too rough on your own, get in the lifeboat.”