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Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917
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Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  781 ratings  ·  173 reviews
On December 6, 1917 two ships collided in Halifax Harbour. One ship was loaded top to bottom with munitions and one held relief supplies, both intended for wartorn Europe. The resulting blast flattened two towns, Halifax and Dartmouth, and killed nearly 2,000 people. As if that wasn't devastating enough, a blizzard hit the next day, dumping more than a foot of snow on the
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Square Fish (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Jim
Growing up in Chicago, I constantly heard and read about the Great Chicago Fire. However, I had never once heard about the Halifax Explosion of 1917. I wonder if that is simply a regional thing. The Halifax explosion is a very interesting story and I am surprised that it is not more well known (and I now wonder the same about the Chicago Fire elsewhere).

Walker, however, took a nonfiction write by numbers approach to the book. She certainly presented some interesting details about the explosion,
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Loree Burns
I picked up an Advance Reader’s Edition of this book at the annual conference of the American Library Association last month. Technically, I am too biased to review it: Sally Walker is a friend and Henry Holt is publishing my own next book. But I’m not the sort of girl that would let those things sway her into praising a book she didn’t love ... and I love this book too much not to sing about it.

In 1917, a ship carrying munitions into Halifax Harbor collided with another ship, setting off what w
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Joella www.cinjoella.com
There was an explosion in 1917 that killed about 2,000 people in Halifax, Canada. Did you know about that? I sure didn't. But wow, what a story. There were two boats that crashed. But even worse is that one of the boats was totally loaded with TNT and other such things to help with the war in Europe. The result was the biggest explosion until the atomic bomb.

The interesting thing about how Sally Walker tells the story is that she doesn't just tell facts about what happened. She tells the story
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Wendy
Great book! It's the kind of non-fiction I like best, with a combination of facts and personal narrative, all told with a sweeping movement and intensity. The introductory chapters, where we hear about who went to work and who went to school and who stayed home sick and who only went to school in the afternoon, were unbearable as I waited to find out which of these places was safe and which wasn't. As is right and proper in juvenile non-fiction, much of the book focuses on children's experiences ...more
Jan C
I seem to be having a problem with books I am listening to on Overdrive. This is at least the second or third youth oriented book I have read. It is a well written one, but, still a children's book.

I am very glad that this was not the first book I have read about the disaster that occurred in December 1917 in Halifax Harbor. Curse Of The Narrows by Laura M. MacDonald is ever so much better. This book, however, tones down the disaster that occurred whereas Curse brings home just how much of a di
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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I had heard of this explosion but never knew the facts until I read this book. On December 6, 1917, a munitions ship loaded with explosives collided with another ship in Halifax harbor, setting off a fire and explosion that destroyed much of the town and killed thousands of people. In addition to the many injured, over 40 people completely lost their vision because they were standing in front of windows that shattered when the explosion occurred. It was followed by a blizzard that hampered rescu ...more
Alicia
I knew nothing of the Halifax Explosion that was the largest man-made explosion until the atomic bombs dropped. The subject matter was fascinating but I think Walker could have done a better job in crafting the story. The photographs were great including illustrations but the addition of all of the different families (their jobs, their home life, who was sick, who was walking to school) left it too mundane to really want to muddle through. I wanted THE STORY. I wanted the thoughts, actions, what ...more
Marjorie Ingall
Awesome, freaky and terrifying -- and how had I never heard of the Halifax Explosion, the biggest man-made explosion before Hiroshima? These Canadians are really too quiet and unassuming.

The book is super-suspenseful as the author ticks off what each member of several families living near the harbor was doing on the morning that two ships -- one laden with munitions -- converged. The tick-tick-tick tone of it all is sickeningly scary, super-cinematic, kind of puke-inducing. You have no idea as
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Sesana
Middle grade history, which means that it's accessibly written and full of personal narratives, possibly more so than an adult book on the same subject might be. And more pictures, too. The subject itself is fascinating enough on its own, and Walker builds up suspense by taking her time in setting the scene. She also doesn't skip out shortly after the explosion happened, instead following up on the relief efforts afterwards.

Of course, you could always read the Wikipedia article on the explosion,
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Kermit
4.2 stars

I had never heard of this disaster that happened in Dec. 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is a short children's nonfiction book, and I saw the title on an ALA's Best of.... booklist.

A ship filled with munitions for World War I ran into another ship in Halifax Harbor. The resulting explosion was the largest manmade explosion that had ever occurred. It remained the largest manmade explosion until 1945 when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

The book was made very personal by the aut
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Sarah Kinert
Blizzard of Glass was an okay book. I am not easily interested in nonfiction books but it was the best nonfiction book that I have read. It explains to readers the huge explosion of Halifax. It is very informative and I had to read it kind of slowly to understand it all. There is a lot of information but it is pretty interesting for a nonfiction book.

In the beginning the people are just relaxed and working at their jobs but then two ships signals get confused and things don't go well. This exp
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Rll52014_barb_zachwieja
I read this book last year because it was one of the Rebecca Caudill nominees. I actually had never heard of the Halifax Explosion of 1917 even though I'm sort of a history buff. The author is Sally M. Walker, and I've actually met her. About 7-8 years ago, we had her as a guest author at our school. She also wrote about another little-known, true-life event: SECRETS OF A CIVIL WAR SUBMARINE, which is about the H.L. Hunley, a submarine that sank in the 1860s and wasn't recovered until 130 years ...more
Pat Pohrte
Over all I thought Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 was a great read. Ironically, not many people are aware of this explosion between the Mont-Blanc and the Imo that completely devastated and destroyed the town of Halifax in Nova Scotia. Walker goes into great detail about the history of the town, its people, and the industry that the town provided. After giving extensive background about Halifax, Walker then characterizes both the Mont-Blanc and the Imo and what their main purpo ...more
Katie
In typical American style I had never heard of the Halifax explosion before reading this book. The greatest explosions the world has seen before Hiroshima and it is not to be found in American textbooks. Why? Because it happened in Nova Scotia of course! That is so far away and unrelated to us...

Well, on to the book review. I thought this book was well written and very interesting. The pictures were well selected and illustrated the accident and the aftermath. The author follows the fate of seve
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Addison Children
I was disappointed. I didn't feel as engaged in the people as I would have liked. I don't know if it was because we were introduced to too many families for me to keep them straight or because not enough time was spent developing a relationship with them before the tragedy. It is a very interesting story and certainly one I had not heard about. I guess here in the US we don't care much about bad things way over in Canada. The Halifax explosion was the largest man-made explosion prior to the atom ...more
Lori

A historical retelling of the Halifax explosion of 1917, combining historical facts with personal narratives of people involved.
It's a juvenile book so most of the horror was downplayed but the personal stories complete with who was where and at what time gave the book a suspenseful feel.
I was surprised, when reading over reviews, how many people had never heard of the explosion; after all it was the biggest man made explosion before the atomic bomb and killed over 2000 people. But then again i
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Angie
On December 6, 1917, the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia was devastated by the largest man-made explosion. Two ships collided in the harbor, one carrying explosives. The shockwave and tsunami destroyed most of the town and left thousands dead, injured and homeless. Sally Walker takes us through the events leading up to the explosion, the aftermath and the recovery. She introduces us to several families whose lives were devastated and irrevocably changed that day. This is the kind of nonfiction I li ...more
Joan
Jan 08, 2012 Joan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure fans, disaster fans, Titanic fans
I'll echo what someone else said: Hand this to your Titanic fans when they run out of material....btw the 100 anniversary of Titanic is this coming April. Be prepared for everything Titanic... Actually the Titanic gets mentioned in this book because the Halifax area actually helped shelter Titanic survivors just a few years earlier. This was the closest town to where the Titanic survivors were brought to land. This was exciting and had me crying at times. I did like the fact that Walker emphasiz ...more
David
Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Sally M. Walker is the true story of a horrific ship collision in Halifax Harbour that resulted in a blast that flattened two towns, Halifax and Dartmouth, and killed nearly 2,000 people.

Wlaker's storytelling, based on original source material, conveys this harrowing account of tragedy and recovery. The book particularly follows members of six families: the Pattison's, O'Brien's, Coleman's, Hook's, Lonecloud's and MacDonald's, before and after
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Elizabeth
December 6, 1917 began as any other day as the people of Halifax and Dartmouth went about their lives, but time stopped at just after nine in the morning when a ship carrying explosives collided with another ship in the harbor causing a huge explosion that could be felt 50 miles away. Almost 2000 people were killed by the explosion and subsequent tsunami, and a blizzard the next day hampered rescue efforts.

Sally M. Walker begins the book slowly following the movements of both ships and the live
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Linnae
In early December, 1917, two ships collided in Halifax, Nova Scotia harbor: a cargo ship loaded with TNT and other explosives, and a ship filled with relief supplies. The resulting explosion killed upwards of 2,000 people changing lives and the town forever.

This was the kind of disaster I had a hard time believing I knew nothing about before reading this book. It changed so many lives, and like 9/11 in more recent times, was a tragedy that extended far beyond those directly involved. As I read
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Crystal
This book grabbed my attention for several reasons. First, my hometown is located just outside of Halifax and I grew up hearing the story of the Halifax Explosion, seeing the areas that were devastated by the explosion on December 6, 1917. The hands of the clock above City Hall still point to 9:05 am- the moment of the explosion that ripped apart Halifax & Dartmouth. This was the largest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in WW2. Every year, our city holds a m ...more
Samantha
Novel #7: I was interested by this book because I do have an interest in history and I am always open to learning new things that I have not recently learned about--such as the Halifax explosion, which is a big part of Canada's history in the early 1900's. Although I did think the beginning of the novel did start out a bit slow, it did get much more interesting. The author had a very delicate way of painting a vivid picture of what was really going on in the nonfiction novel in order to give the ...more
Terri
Two ships collided in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on December 6, 1917. One was heavily laden with munitions bound for the European front of World War I. The result was the largest man-made explosion in history until the atom bomb. I am a history buff, yet I had never heard of it until I read Candace Millard's Destiny of the Republic. Millard mentions the explosion in the early part of her excellent biography of James A. Garfield. That snippet intrigued me, so when Blizzard of Glass came ...more
Shelley
I'd never heard of this: Dec 1917, a munitions ship collided with another in the Halifax, NS docks and the resulting blast destroyed two towns. Within seconds, buildings were leveled for a mile, glass gone for more, and thousands of people were dead and then there was a tsunami and ten minutes of black oil TNT rain. And then the next day, when they were trying to rescue people buried alive in buildings, there was a blizzard. Disaster after disaster. This followed several families, some of whom p ...more
Annalee Schnebele
Umh, I think I might be crazy because all I've heard about this book is how amazing it is and how no one can put it down. I read it hoping to find some nonfiction books for our 7th and 8th grade teachers for next year.

It was a really interesting topic. And some of the information in it was fascinating. I definetly want to know more about this moment in history. But, the author's voice was irritating and condescending. It's very difficult to write ya nonfiction well, and I don't think this is a g
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Jackie
When two ships, the Imo and the Mont-Blanc collide into one another in a harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 6, 1917 the residents surrounding the harbor, their town, and their sense of safety are shattered forever. That is because one ship was carrying a dangerous amount of explosives that set the area on fire, ripped through and demolished buildings, set off a tsunami, and killed thousands of people. It was the largest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb.

Author Sally Walker takes
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Camy
December 6,1917 on that date can mean anything to anyone. Someone's birthday,wedding,or anything else. But on that date. There was a explosion.....that caused the next few days of the people in Nova Scotica to be miserable.this story is historical fiction.

The explosion starts off with the ships.and one of them was carrying explosives for the war. And it crashes into another ship then black oil and a tsunami occurs. Then the next day there was a blizzard.
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Aug 30, 2013 Vernon Area Public Library KIDS rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grades 4 and above
Shelves: nonfiction
This was an amazing book. I had never heard about this event in history, which is amazing. How could I not have heard about the largest man-made explosion until the detonation of the atomic bomb in 1945? Due to a communication error, two boats collided in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia. One of the ships was loaded with unbelievably huge amounts of explosives bound for Europe and the soldiers fighting in what became known as World War I. The other ship was getting ready to collect medical supplies ...more
Adrienne
December 6, 1917 started out as a normal day for the people of Halifax, Nova Scotia, as they headed off to work and school. Little did they know that disaster was looming in the Halifax Harbour, as a ship loaded with explosives was on course to collide with another ship. When the two boats collided, the largest man-made explosion until the dropping of the atomic bomb nearly thirty years later was the result. Felt and heard for miles, the explosion was devastating to the people of Halifax as neig ...more
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Sally M. Walker has written science books for children, including Earthquakes, an NSTA/CBC Best Science Trade Book of 1997. She lives in DeKalb, IL.
More about Sally M. Walker...
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley Freedom Song: The Story of Henry "Box" Brown Druscilla's Halloween Their Skeletons Speak: Kennewick Man and the Paleoamerican World (Exceptional Social Studies Titles for Intermediate Grades) (Exceptional Social Studies Title for Intermediate Grades)

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