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Natural Disasters: List of Book Choices




Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakaur

The author describes his spring 1996 trek to Mt. Everest, a disastrous expedition that claimed the lives of eight climbers, and explains why he survived.


Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Read (non-fiction)

In this true-life adventure, a team of rugby players survive a plane crash deep in the desolate, snow-covered Andes Mountains, where they must overcome incredible odds to stay alive.


Brian’s Winter  by Gary Paulsen

Instead of being rescued from a plane crash, as in the author's book Hatchet, this story portrays what would have happened to Brian had he been forced to survive a winter in the wilderness with only his survival pack and hatchet.


Blizzard’s Wake  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

In March of 1941, when a severe blizzard suddenly hits Bismarck, North Dakota, a girl trying to save her stranded father and brother inadvertently helps the man who killed her mother four years before.


A Blizzard Year by Gretel Ehlrich

For one year, thirteen-year-old Timmy records in her journal the changes she sees in the natural world and her family's activities on their Wyoming ranch as they fight to save it from financial ruin.


Far North:  by Will Hobbs

After the destruction of their floatplane, sixteen-year-old Gabe and his friend, Raymond, struggle to survive a winter in the wilderness of the Northwest Territories.


My Side of the Mountain  by Jean Craighead George

A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in the Catskill Mountains including his struggle for survival, his dependence on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs human companionship.


Storm Mountain by Tom Birdseye

Two thirteen-year-old cousins are trapped in a blizzard on the same treacherous mountain in the Cascades that claimed the lives of their world-famous, mountain-climber, twin fathers exactly two years earlier.


Buried Alive: A Mystery at Denali National Park:  by Gloria Skurzynski

"Snowmobiles are impacting the wolverine population at Denali National Park. And the Landons are there to help figure out why. Panic grips the Landon kids and 13-year-old Nicky Milano as they realize they have been abandoned in the wilds of Alaska's Denali National Park. As they huddle together against the cold, they hear a deafening roar. Avalanche! If someone doesn't find them soon, they will freeze to death. Can they figure out a way to escape the thundering mass of snow, or will they be buried alive?"




Ice Island by Sherry Shahan

Thirteen-year-old Tatum's dream of competing in the grueling 1,049-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race may be at an end when she becomes lost in a freak snowstorm during a training run on Alaska's remote Santa Ysabel Island.


Wolf Storm by Dee Garetson

Three young actors shooting a movie in the snow-covered Carpathian Mountains are separated from base camp by a terrible blizzard and come face-to-face with a pack of hungry wolves.



Drought/Dust Storm


Out of the Dust  by Karen Hesse

In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.


Survival in the Storm The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards:  by Katelyn Janke

A twelve-year-old girl keeps a journal of her family's and friends' difficult experiences in the Texas panhandle, part of the "Dust Bowl," during the Great Depression.


The Truth About Sparrows  by Marian Hale

Twelve-year-old Sadie promises that she will always be Wilma's best friend when their families leaves drought-stricken Missouri in 1933, but once in Texas, Sadie learns that she must try to make a new home--and new friends, too.


Water Wars by Cameron Stratcher

In a world where water has become a precious resource, Vera and her brother befriend a boy who seems to have unlimited access to water and who suspiciously disappears, prompting a dangerous search challenged by pirates, a paramilitary group, and corporations.


The Devil’s Paintbox by Victoria McKernan

In 1865, fifteen-year-old Aiden and his thirteen-year-old sister Maddy, penniless orphans, leave drought-stricken Kansas on a wagon train hoping for a better life in Seattle, but find there are still many hardships to be faced.




House of Power   by Patrick Carman

Young Edgar finds a book that reveals secrets about Atherton, the strictly divided world on which he lives, even as geological changes threaten to shift the power structure that allows an elite few to live off the labor of others.




Earthquake at Dawn   by Kristiana Gregory

A novelization of twenty-two-year-old photographer Edith Irvine's experiences in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, as seen through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Daisy, a fictitious traveling companion.


Quake : Disaster in San Francisco, 1906   by Gail Karwoski

Tells the story of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as seen through the eyes of Jacob, a thirteen-year-old Jewish boy who lives in a boarding house with his father and younger sister.



Last Book in the Universe   by Rodman Philbrick

A thousand years in the future, an earthquake destroys much of the planet, and an epileptic teenager nicknamed Spaz begins the heroic fight to bring human intelligence back to Earth.


The Diary of Minnie Bonner by Blundell

It is 1906, and when her family is cheated out of their tavern, fourteen-year-old Minnie Bonner is forced to become a maid to the Sump family, who are moving to San Francisco--three weeks before the great earthquake.


The Legend of Zoey  by Candie Moonshadow

The diaries of thirteen-year-old Zoey, who lives in modern day Tennessee, and Prudence, who lives in 1811 Missouri, tell how the two girls survive the New Madrid earthquakes and the subsequent floods after Zoey travels back in time.





Dark Water Rising   by Marian Hale

While salvaging and rebuilding in the aftermath of the Galveston flood of 1900, sixteen-year-old Seth proves himself in a way that his previous efforts never could, but he still must face his father man-to-man.


Exodus   by Julie Bertagna

In the year 2100, as the island of Wing is about to be covered by water, fifteen-year-old Mara discovers the existence of New World sky cities that are safe from the storms and rising waters, and convinces her people to travel to one of these cities in order to save themselves.


The Surge   by Roland Smith

After barely surviving a terrifying hurricane, Chase and his friends Nicole and Rashawn have made it to the safety of Nicole's family farm, which is also the winter home of the Rossi Brothers Circus, where flood waters are rising and dangerous circus animals are on the loose.







Voyage on the Great Titanic:  by Ellen White

In her diary in 1912, thirteen-year-old Margaret Ann describes how she leaves her lonely life in a London orphanage to become a companion to a wealthy American woman, sails on the Titanic, and experiences its sinking.


Titanic  Voices from the Disaster:  by Deborah Hopkinson

Draws on stories from survivors and archival photographs to describe the history of the "Titanic" from its launch to its sinking.


A Night to Remember   by Walter Lord  (nonfiction)

Provides an account of the sinking of the "Titanic," a reputedly unsinkable ship that went down in the Atlantic on April 10, 1912 after hitting an iceberg, resulting in the deaths of over 1,500 people.


Ice Drift by Sherry Shahan

Two Inuit brothers must fend for themselves while stranded on an ice floe that is adrift in the Greenland Strait. The year is 1868, and fourteen-year-old Alika and his younger brother, Sulu, are hunting for seals on an ice floe attached to their island in the Arctic. Suddenly the ice starts to shake, and they hear a loud crack--the terrible sound of the floe breaking free from land.


Shackleton’s Stowaway  by Victoria McKernan

A fictionalized account of the adventures of eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow, who stowed away for the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition and, after their ship Endurance was crushed by ice, endured many hardships, including the loss of the toes of his left foot to frostbite, during the nearly two-year return journey across sea and ice.


Frozen Stiff :  by Sherry Shahan

Cousins Cody and Derek take a kayak trip in Alaska and find themselves battling the raw elements of an untamed wilderness.


Global Warming


Empty: by Suzanne Weyn                                                                                                       

When, just ten years in the future, oil supplies run out and global warming leads to devastating storms, senior high school classmates Tom, Niki, Gwen, Hector, and Brock realize that the world as they know it is ending and lead the way to a more environmentally-friendly society. 


Just for Fins by Tera Childs

As the mermaid Crown Princess of Thalassinia, Lily must dive deep into findng a solution when she discovers the ocean's warming is causing big waves for both mermaids and humans.





Roberto and Me By Dan Gutman

After going back in time to try to stop the untimely death of legendary baseball player Roberto Clemente, Stosh returns to the present and is taken to the future to witness something more shocking than he's ever seen.


Thirst by Karen Taylor

In the distant future on a parched landscape, sits an enormous wall made of towering wooden columns. The wall surrounds the desolate settlement of Regnboga. But inside, nobody can remember a time when the wall was built or when such majestic trees grew. No enemies ever come to challenge them, but the Watchers still zealously guard the settlement and the well that means life to their people.





Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck   by Margarita Engle (verse novel)

Quebrado has been a slave on Captain Bernadino de Talavera's pirate ship for years, but when a hurricane sinks the ship and kills most of the crew, Quebrado escapes to safety and finds acceptance and refuge in a nearby village.


Double Eagle  by Sneed Collard

In 1973, Michael and Kyle's discovery of a rare Confederate coin near an old Civil War fort turns into a race against time as the boys try to find more coins before a hurricane hits Alabama's Gulf coast.


Take me to the River:  by Will Hobbs

When North Carolina fourteen-year-old Dylan Sands joins his fifteen-year-old cousin Rio in running the Rio Grande River, they face a tropical storm and a fugitive kidnapper.


Hurricane Gold:  by Charlie Higson

Future spy James Bond, a teenager in the 1930s, travels from hurricane-damaged Mexico to Lagrimas Negras, a Caribbean island containing a deadly obstacle course, as he tries to rescue two American children abducted by criminals.


Hurricane:   by Terry Trueman

A fictional account of one of the worst storms to hit the Caribbean--Hurricane Mitch in 1998--told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old boy living in a small village in Honduras.


Storm Runners:  by Roland Smith

Twelve-year-old Chase Masters travels the country with his father, a "storm runner," but he is tested in ways he never could have imagined when he and a new friend are caught in a hurricane near St. Petersburg, Florida.


Storm Rescue  by Laurie Halse Anderson Sunita Patel is book smart and good with cats. When a hurricane approaches, Sunita realizes that Lucy, a diabetic cat with a broken leg, is in danger, along with her owner, Mrs. Clark. When the vets are called out on emergency, the evacuation starts. Will Sunita be able to save


The Surge   by Roland Smith

Chase and his friends Nicole and Rashawn have just survived Hurricane Emily, the storm of the century, but their troubles are just beginning. Although they've made it to the safety of Nicole's family's farm--the winter home of the Rossi Brothers' Circus--the floodwaters are rising and they need to reach higher ground. The circus's lions have escaped their cages, and a dangerous and unpredictable leopard is also on the loose.


Ninth Ward:   by Jewell Parker Rhodes

In New Orleans' Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them.





The Comet’s Curse by Dom Testa  

Desperate to save the human race after a comet's deadly particles devastate the adult population, scientists create a ship that will carry a crew of 251 teenagers to a home in a distant solar system.


Life As We Knew It  by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.


Go Big or Go Home  by Will Hobbs

Fourteen-year-old Brady and his cousin Quinn love extreme sports, but nothing could prepare them for the aftermath of Brady's close encounter with a meteorite after it crashes into his Black Hills, South Dakota, bedroom.




Night of the Twisters   by Ivy Ruckman

A fictional account of the night freakish and devastating tornadoes hit Grand Island, Nebraska, as experienced by a twelve-year-old, his family, and friends.


Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner

Jaden's summer visit with her meteorologist father, who has just returned from spending four years in Russia conducting weather experiments not permitted in the United States, fills her with apprehension and fear as she discovers that living at her father's planned community, Placid Meadows, is anything but placid.






The Killing Sea   by Richard Lewis

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Sumatra, two teenagers, American Sarah and Acehnese Ruslan, meet and continue together their arduous climb inland, where Ruslan hopes to find his father and Sarah seeks a doctor for her brother.


Escaping the Giant Wave   by Peg Kehret

When an earthquake creates a tsunami while thirteen-year-old Kyle is babysitting his sister during a family vacation at a Pacific Coast resort, he tries to save himself, his sister, and a boy who has bullied him for years.





The Perfect Storm A True Story of Men Against the Sea  by Sebastian Junger (nonfiction)

Uses interviews, memoirs, radio conversations, and technical research to recreate the last days of the crew of the "Andrea Gail," a fishing boat that was lost in a storm off the coast of Nova Scotia in October 1991.


The Great Wide Sea   by M.H. Herlong

Still mourning the death of their mother, three brothers go with their father on an extended sailing trip off the Florida Keys and have a harrowing adventure at sea.


Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival   by Arthur Slade

Many of Newton Starker's ancestors, including his mother, have been killed by lightning strikes, so when he enrolls at the eccentric Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, he tries to be a model student so that he can avoid the same fate.


Death Mountain  by Sherry Shahan

While traveling to visit the mother she has not heard from in almost a year, Erin and another teenage girl become lost in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains and must struggle for six days to survive.


The Wreckers  by Iain Lawrence

Shipwrecked after a vicious storm, fourteen-year-old John Spencer attempts to save his father and himself while also dealing with an evil secret about the English coastal town where they are stranded.







Eruption  by Roland Smith

Twelve-year-old Chase and his friend Nicole Rossi attempt to rescue the Rossi Brothers' Circus--lions, tigers, elephants, and all--in Mexico, where a massive earthquake has struck, leading to the imminent eruption of a volcano.


Memory Boy  by Will Weaver

Sixteen-year-old Miles and his family must flee their Minneapolis home and begin a new life in the wilderness after a chain of cataclysmic volcanic explosions creates dangerous conditions in their city.


Night of the Howling Dogs  by Graham Salisbury

In 1975, eleven Boy Scouts, their leaders, and some friends camping at Halape, Hawaii, find their survival skills tested when a massive earthquake strikes, followed by a tsunami.






The Great Fire  by Jim Murphy (nonfiction)

An account of the Great Chicago Fire combines archival photographs and drawings with personal accounts by its survivors and historical documents.


Big Burn by Jeanette Ingold

Three teenagers battle the flames of the Big Burn of 1910, one of the century's biggest wildfires.


Flash Fire   by Caroline B. Cooney

A minute-by-minute account of a roaring California fire follows the adventures of a pair of young people who are living in an isolated canyon and must save themselves from the approaching inferno.


The Diary of Pringle Rose by Bartoletti

It is 1871 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and fourteen-year-old Pringle Rose, still grieving from the death of her parents, takes her brother Gideon, who has Down syndrome, escapes from her uncle and aunt, taking a train to Chicago--but disaster seems to follow her there.


Firestorm   by Joan Harlow

A twelve-year-old street urchin and the son of Chicago's most important jeweler strike up an unlikely friendship in the days before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, and both are nearly trapped when the city goes up in flames.


Into the Firestorm:  A Novel of San Francisco  by Deborah Hopkinson

Eleven-year-old Nicholas Dray tries to help his neighbors survive the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and subsequent fires.