Lifeboat 12

Lifeboat 12
Written by Susan Hood

Publisher’s Summary:
In 1940, a group of British children, their escorts, and some sailors struggle to survive in a lifeboat when the ship taking them to safety in Canada is torpedoed.

Primary Source Pairing:
Told in verse, the story of Ken and the others on the SS City of Benares ship is a page turning adventure sure to captivate readers. Author Susan Hood fictionalized the tragedy that occured during WWII when a ship carrying 90 children and hundreds of other passengers and crew was torpedoed and sank leaving those who were lucky enough to be in a lifeboat in a struggle to survive. During WWII, children in England were being evacuated to other countries for their safety. In the book Lifeboat 12, Ken is is one of those children. For this primary source pairing, invite students to learn about a real passenger on the SS City of Benares named Michael Rennie. His real life story will resonate with readers of Lifeboat 12.

Learn more about Michael Rennie here and here.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • How much of the text can you read? What does it say?
  • How are the words arranged?
  • What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
  • What do you see on the page besides writing?
  • What other details can you see?
  • Learn more about Michael Reenie by reading the information linked above.
  • Make a connection to what you learned about Michael Rennie to something you read in the book Lifeboat 12.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Michael Rennie, Hampstead Garden Suburb Heritage, 2015:
Remembering the City of Benares tragedy, written by Roger Kershaw, September 2015:

Related Primary Source Pairing:
The War That Saved My Life, Written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley