Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Explosion Newsie

Migani, Loretta (Illustrator)
Formac 2015. 32 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781459504011 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Each day, 9-year-old Macky delivers newspapers on his bicycle to help make money for his family. Unfortunately, he’s often late, he gets the papers dirty and he has been bullied into relinquishing his older brother’s coveted sales corner. When two ships collide in the port of Halifax, Macky has a flat tire and is annoyed to have missed the excitement, until the accident fireballs and blasts the town. Macky stumbles about in the raining metal and embers and finds “half the city was gone, the rest flattened or on fire.” When the Herald prints news of the explosion in the days that follow—on single sheets, run off on an old hand press—Macky does what a newsie must: he delivers the paper. His customers are happy to see the once-errant newsie, bringing information about surviving relatives. Macky and his erstwhile tormentors band together to spread news across town.

With engaging dialogue and a fast-paced plot, this fictional perspective offers a child’s take on a historic disaster. Macky personifies persistence, but his family has its fair share of worry as his older brother is injured and goes missing for several days.

The representative watercolours depict scenes both pleasant and grim, from the burning frames and tumbled beams of the torched town to happy hospital reunions. The muted hues of the 1917 port town are brightened by spots of burgundy, green or blue that suggest, as Macky says at the end of the book, that “the city’s beginning to mend.”

  •  

    Discuss what Canada was like 100 years ago, when there was no Internet or television, and household electricity was rare. What forms of entertainment were there? How did people get the news?

  •  

    On a picture walk, notice the expressions on each character’s face. Discuss how illustrations can tell a story and how peoples’ expressions convey emotion.

  •  

    After the explosion, enemies worked side by side or turned to each other for support. Why would people’s attitudes change following such a disaster?

  •  

    Write a story that involves a disaster. Consider how people would act and feel. What would be the obstacles and challenges?

  •  Research the Halifax explosion. Take notes on what you read and synthesize your understanding in a brief outline. What is important to learn from this disaster?
  •  

    Make predictions about the story, based on the cover. Locate Halifax on a map of Canada.

  •  

    Discuss what Canada was like 100 years ago, when there was no Internet or television, and household electricity was rare. What forms of entertainment were there? How did people get the news?

  •  

    Use a teacher-selected news report of the Halifax explosion. Compare and contrast the information in the book and with what you find in the news report.

  •  

    Script a TV or radio report of the event.

  •  

    Discuss why the job of paperboy/girl has disappeared in the last 20 years. 

  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship