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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,446 Ratings  ·  253 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
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Square Fish (first published 2011)
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Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of an explosion of a munitions ship on December 6, 1917 in Halifax Harbor, what lead up to it, the massive force of the explosion, families involved and what happened afterwards. Two thousand deaths (five hundred being children), nine thousand injuries and the blizzard that happened the day after and the extraordinary relief effort make this a fascinating read. It was the largest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb. On the last page is a picture of an anchor shaft from th ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Loree Burns
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I applaud Sally M. Walker's brevity. In the hands of another modern historian, the reader would likely slog through every political intrigue, alliance, battle, pandemic, economic justification, and every minute detail of World War I to explain this singular event. Nowadays, a reader travails through two to three hundred pages before the actual event indicated in the title actually occurs. I suspect that a lot of this has to do with getting the page count up which in turn translates to more chedd ...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
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
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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.
Edward Sullivan
A fascinating chronicle of the catastrophe and its human toll.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tale of heroism, courage, and love.

Blizzard Of Glass is a decently short, nonfiction book written by Sally M. Walker. It is the story of one major event in history so it is not part of a series. The book is honestly geared toward children of all ages, but it is the themes I would say that make it a better read for tweens and teens.
The book revolves around five young, joyous families, and how their everyday lives screech to a halt on that one faithful day. The Imo, a U.S. ship was leaving Ha
The title and cover illustration drew me to this brief account of the Halifax Harbor disaster in December, 1917. The research is impeccable and the words paint a comprehensive picture of the environs and events of that horrible morning though leaving much unsaid about the nature of community life before the explosion. The writing is aimed at a junior high audience as it frequently explains vocabulary that may be new to the reader. The emphasis is less on the grizzly results of the explosion than ...more
Yves Brunet
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On December 6, 1917, near 100 years ago, a great explosion occurred in Halifax Harbour when two ships collided, one being filled with munitions from top to bottom. The explosion shattered all the windows miles around and created a tsunami. Officially 1952 people died but many say that the final toll exceeds 200. This book tells this story and is quite easy to read. Massachusetts, Maine and many other Canadian provinces sent help to deal with the thousands that were injured many becoming blind wh ...more
Mary Goutermont
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent choice for a history of this horrendous tragedy. The author has explained the experience with clarity in describing the progression and those who were involved and changed by this experience. She makes you eager to keep on reading to learn every aspect of this episode in the history of Halifax. It is written so as to be of interest to children and adults alike. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in history, naval facts, or unusual catastrophes.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, juvenile
I apparently never added this to my Goodreads, but I was just talking about the Halifax Explosion, and remembering how fascinating, how gripping and awful, reading this book was. I'd never heard of this event prior to seeing this book at the library, and neither of the adults I was speaking with has either, which is boggling.
Tena DeGraaf
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Sally Walker does an excellent job of making this not well-known event come to life. Readers will learn not only of the events that led up to the explosion of 1917, but they will also be inspired by the acts of kindness by strangers to help this devastated area and its survivors. A must-read!
Robert B McNichol SR
Great book

I'm anticipation of a trip to Halifax I was encouraged to read this book. The knowledge that I gained about the explosion and the accounts of the survivors memories that were described allowed for a great visit. This is a well written and researched account of the event. I strongly recommend this book.
Alana B
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was very informative and had stories of the Halifax explosion survivors which kept it very interesting.
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i liked it
Sarah Weigand
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This well-informed and comprehensive account of a significant historical event is an easy and valuable read.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know this had happened. Tragic and interesting story. Also a story of kindness.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

After reading about the Halifax explosion in another book, I wanted to know more about it and I knew I had this book so I hunted it up. And I was not disappointed. Sally Walker has done a great job of telling the story of this tragic event that occurred almost 100 years ago and left it's mark on so many. Walker begins by giving a brief history of both Halifax itself and World War I, knowledge of which is helpful in understanding the disaster itself. After all, it was because of World War I that
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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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...