Early Elementary Books

Theme: Survival

A Storm Called Katrina - (ISBN: 978-1561455911)

by Myron Uhlberg

A small trumpet-playing African American child awakens to find his house deluged by the waters of Katrina. His family jumps on a large board that used to be a neighbor’s porch. Their trip to the Superdome leads them past floating bodies and other horrors as Louis paddles valiantly with a broom. Louis is able to relieve some of the refugee’s tensions at their unknown future by entertaining them with his beloved trumpet that he managed to carry along on the harrowing trip. What tunes do you imagine he played? Did your home or area ever experience a hurricane?

Herbert: The True Story of a Brave Sea Dog - (ISBN: 978-0763647414)

by Robyn Belton

Herbert the dog’s owner, Tim, tried hard to persuade his father and a New Zealand fisherman to organize a search for Herbert, lost somewhere on a rough sea. Herbert managed to make it through a day and a half’s swim in tempestuous waters before the rescuers found him. His reunion with Tim sparked massive publicity and resulted in this children’s book.

Owen and Mzee - (ISBN: 978-0439829731)

by Isabella Hatkoff

Enjoy the marvelous photos of a rescued hippo, which survives the 2005 Indonesian tsunami and becomes best friends with a giant tortoise. The book details the harrowing rescue of the hippo at sea after it became separated from its family group during the storm. With its new friend in an animal sanctuary, Owen settles into a contented life: eating, playing, and snuggling like a family. This book came about because a 6-year old girl saw a photo of the pair living together; she persuaded her father to tell the story in book form!

Sam’s Bush Journey - (ISBN: 978-1921541728)

by Sally Morgan

Sam loves accompanying his grandmother into the Australian Bush. But he resents the mosquitoes and scratchy plants that plague them as they hike. When he has a dream that he is lost in the bush, he comes to appreciate the helpfulness of the natural berries and glorious birds that signal his path home. What would you do if you were lost in your neighborhood or nearby forest?

The Wild Girl - (ISBN: 978-0802853110 )

by Christopher Wormell

Have you ever imagined living in the woods with the animals? In this book, a young girl fiercely protects the cave she shares with her pet dog. After she has shoed away a large bear, she finds a baby cub rooting around looking for its mother. The girl eventually lures the mother bear back to the cave and its lost offspring. Think about what might have happened to this girl after the book ended. Did she go on living in the wilderness or did she find her way back to a life with humans?

Attack of the Pilgrim Zombies - (ISBN: 978-0316209892)

by Annie Auerbach

Castaways - (ISBN: 978-1416908029)

by Alison Inches

Dreamstones - (ISBN: 978-0773761414)

by Maxine Trottier

Hansel and Gretel - (ISBN: 978-1423111863)

by Cynthia Wylant

Race the Wild Wind - (ISBN: 978-0802797667)

by Sandra Markle

Willie Takes a Hike - (ISBN: 978-0152002725)

by Gloria Rand

Activities for this Theme

Help your children memorize phone numbers for their homes, relatives, and emergency services.


Pack an emergency suitcase that you can grab and carry with you to the basement or other sheltered area in case of a tornado or hurricane. Do not forget to include water, food, blankets, flashlights, and batteries as well as a charged cell phone.


Develop an escape route for your family in case of fire. Get rope ladders that are easy to put down for second-floor escapes. Mark your calendar for frequent checks on smoke and other detectors. Take advantage of the tips and planning tools provided by the National Fire Protection Association.