McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

CNHI Special Projects

April 5, 2012

Children drawn to Titanic tale; educators use caution

NEW YORK — Eleven-year-old John Payne has been a student of the Titanic since kindergarten.

He has scrupulously researched the ship, built a model out of Lego freehand and successfully lobbied his fifth-grade teacher in suburban Chicago to let him mark the disaster's centennial with a multimedia presentation for his class.

What's not to like? There's mystery, high technology and heroes. Sunken treasure, conspiracy theories and jarring tales of rich vs. poor.

But there's also death, lots of it, and that has some parents, teachers and writers of children's books balancing potentially scary details with more palatable, inspirational fare focused on survivors, animals on board or the mechanics of shipbuilding.

John "doesn't ask questions about the dead and other darker aspects" of what went on that moonless night in the North Atlantic, said his mother, Virginia Tobin Payne.

"He's a sensitive kid. We try to temper all of it so it doesn't become an obsession," she said. "After the anniversary passes, I hope we can sort of close the book on him looking for more information about it."

Barry Denenberg struggled with how to depict the horror in his new book "Titanic Sinks!" The sepia-tone hardcover, written as a mock magazine, was released ahead of the April 14 anniversary and has already made it into schools. The book, from Viking, is intended for kids 9 and older and doesn't hold back much as it blends fact and fiction for a meticulous, realistic feel that draws on the official record.

"There's only one little line in the book about how most of the people froze to death. They did not drown," Denenberg said. "Hypothermia is a much longer death. I had to make a decision about what's accurate and what's ghoulish."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
CNHI Special Projects
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.