3rd Grade and Up
Growing up in the Alaskan wilderness, Jackson has always prided himself on being tough. His family lives in a tiny cabin where their neighbors are grizzlies and wolves. The nearest store is a three-day walk away.
Jackson loves his life. Until a fire destroys the family’s cabin, and they have to move to the town of Valdez. Adjusting to fifth grade isn’t easy.
And then Jackson must face an earthquake of terrifying strength. As the ground shatters and tsunami waves crash into the coast, Jackson learns what it really means to be tough.
I wasn’t really that excited about this book since Lauren Tarshis had already written about an earthquake in I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906. I thought, “What makes the Alaskan earthquake different from the San Francisco earthquake?” Well, for one thing, the Alaskan earthquake lasted for a full five minutes, while the San Francisco earthquake lasted only one minute. I was surprised to learn that Alaska gets more earthquakes than any other state. California comes in second. And that’s just one of the many astonishing facts I learned about Alaska.
The Alaskan setting had me hooked from the start. More specifically, the Alaskan bush, the wild parts of Alaska far from roads and towns. According to Jackson, “a person had to be tough to live in the bush – Alaska tough.” I think a person has to be crazy to live in the Alaskan bush. There are so many ways to die out in the bush. You could freeze, get lost, go hungry because you ran out of food during the winter, and be eaten alive by swarms of mosquitos in the summer.
The description of the earthquake was exceptionally terrifying. In the back of the book, there’s a photo of the ground shattered apart. It’s wild!
The story itself is rather short, only ninety-one pages. The last third of the book includes Lauren Tarshis talking about her journey to Alaska, why earthquakes happen, and how to stay safe during an earthquake.
I don’t know what disaster Lauren Tarshis will write about next. I hope she’ll write about the London Blitz during WWII or another animal attack.