The Mary Celeste: An Unsolved Mystery From History

Yolen, J., & Stemple, H. E. Y. (2002). The mary celeste: An unsolved mystery from history. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

This book tells the tale of a ship named the Mary Celeste that was found abandoned in 1872- the ship’s crew, captain, passengers, etc. were all completely missing. Through storytelling, as well as many important clues given in separate sections by Yolen about ship terminology, vocabulary, information about the captain and crew, etc., children are encouraged to explore the mystery themselves and come up with their own explanations!

Genre: Historical fiction

Grade level: 3rd-5th

Readers who would like this book: Children who enjoy mysteries, children who like history, children who enjoy problem solving.

Rating and response: 5; The uniqueness and great execution of detail in this book secured my rating as “5 stars!” This text encourages students to use their critical thinking skills through various forms of information presentation such as maps, definitions, timelines, narrative, and even word lists! I have no doubt that this book would make history seem fun and exciting to all students, and could be a great “springboard” text for the introduction of simple research. I think that this text makes history, a sometimes complicated subject, seem accessible to students, and because of that I would definitely recommend this mysterious book!

Question: Take a moment to look at the title and cover illustrations of this book. What do you think the mystery of the Mary Celeste is? Make a prediction about what you think the mystery will be!


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