The Stars In April, by Peggy Wirgau
2022 SCWC Notable Book Award Winner Young Adult Category
"Sometimes we have to go a long way to find out who we are."
-Ruth Becker, from The Stars in April
Based on the True Story of Twelve-Year-Old Titanic Survivor, Ruth Becker "Sometimes we have to go a long way to find out who we are." The year is 1912. When doctors in India are unable to treat her baby brother s illness, Ruth s missionary parents decide there is one solution: move her mother and the children across the world to Michigan.
The year is 1912. When doctors in India are unable to treat her baby brother’s illness, Ruth’s missionary parents decide there is one solution: move her mother and the children across the world—to Michigan.But India is the only home Ruth knows. In a matter of days, she must leave Papa and all she loves behind, abandon her dream of one day playing violin in the Calcutta Orchestra, and embark on a rollicking, four-week journey across the Arabian and Mediterranean Seas, followed by the voyage to New York aboard the luxurious, ill-fated RMS Titanic.Ruth’s story is one of courage and self-sacrifice as she earns her sea legs and faces the unknown, culminating in a desperate, tragic night she will never forget."I feel as though I’m sitting in Ruth’s apartment and she is sharing her life story with me … so very well-written … one can hardly stop reading.”—Floyd Andrick, former Titanic Historical Society member and personal friend of Ruth Becker
Curriculum Guide includes classroom materials and lesson plan ideas for teaching middle grade and young adult historical fiction. Supplements the nonfiction backmatter found in the book, which include glossary of Edwardian terms, discussion questions, and photographs and information about the people in the story.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE STARS IN APRIL
A captivating, honest, lovingly told story of a young girl’s courageous journey. If you only read one book about the Titanic, read this one!~Francisco X. Stork, Award-winning author many books for young adults, including his latest, Illegal
Reading The Stars in April was a bit like listening to a beautiful piece of music, filled with crescendos, dips, and breathtaking, melodic moments. From the first lovely chapter to the last, this beautifully-written story draws you into Ruth’s journey and compels you to keep reading, page after wonderful page. … Highly recommended. ~Janice Thompson, Author of Queen of the Waves
A satisfying, well-written, fun-to-read book—though (of course) sad. The character of Ann, combined with Ruth’s beautiful dream, offer a way to help younger children grappling with the Titanic disaster. ~Julie Hedgepeth Williams, Author of A Rare Titanic Family, Winner of the 2014 Ella Dickey Award for Books that Preserve History
Peggy Wirgau has eloquently captured the story of twelve-year-old Ruth’s harrowing experience and tells it in an unforgettable way. Thanks to Peggy, Ruth Becker’s memory continues to survive. I felt as if I were experiencing it [the story] along with Ruth. ~Yvonne Lehman, Author of Hearts that Survive—A Novel of the Titanic, Why? Titanic Moments, and Personal Titanic Moments
I love how author Peggy Wirgau’s goal is to share stories of lesser-known strong girls and women from history, like Ruth Becker, the feisty heroine in The Stars in April. Besides the beautiful, prose-like writing, this book offers a new take on the Titanic disaster through the eyes of a teen survivor who helped others—even after being separated from her family. Especially love the side-theme on suffragettes—so important. ~Karen Bokram, Publisher, Girls’ Life Magazine
Twelve-year-old Ruth struggles to live up to her mother’s expectations as they leave their beloved missionary home in India and face the frightening unknown of a future in America in Peggy Wirgau’s engrossing debut novel, The Stars in April. Putting the needs of others before her own desires and trusting that the life she has is enough, Ruth learns, is not for the faint of heart. Based on the real life adventures of Ruth Becker, a second-class passenger aboard the ill-fated Titanic, The Stars in April is a colorful portrait of 1912 life and the tragedy aboard Titanic as seen through the eyes of a talented girl with hopes and dreams of her own. Wirgau’s detailed historical research is spot-on in this compelling and heartwarming coming of age novel. I loved the exploration of stars and their constellations that connect Ruth with her absent father, and the informative guide to stargazing in the back of the book. For lovers of Titanic stories, young history buffs, middle school and homeschool students The Stars in April is a must read. ~Cathy Gohlke, Award-winning author of Promise Me This, William Henry is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires
… It is difficult to leave this novel out of your hands for long, as it is a constantly moving scene as we travel every step with Ruth …. The Stars in April is a fitting title for this novel especially with so much star and constellation detail in Ruth’s regular Sky Reports throughout the novel. The sky at night was such a constant in Ruth’s travels, she felt it linked her to her “Papa” as they gazed on a shared sky from far differing locations. A wonderful read throughout concluding in rescue of the Becker family. So sad there was such great loss of life in the freezing North Atlantic of April 1912. ~Vincent McMahon, Historian, Titanic Experience Cobh Ltd., Cobh, IrelandI feel as though I’m sitting in Ruth’s apartment (in Santa Barbara) and she is sharing her life story with me. This could very easily be a non-fiction account… so very well written…one can hardly stop reading. ~Floyd Andrick, Historical Society member, Personal friend of Ruth Becker
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