The Story I’m Working on Right Now

View of the Halifax skyline

8/15/2017

 

Hi teachers!

One of the best parts of my job is hitting the road and researching articles to bring to you and your students. Among the many things I love about these journeys are all the fascinating people I get to meet along the way.

I am currently in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I am researching our November nonfiction feature about the 1917 Explosion in Halifax Harbor. Two ships collided. One was carrying munitions to Europe for World War I. Those munitions exploded with such force that entire neighborhoods were destroyed. Today, the explosion is not widely known, though it is the largest non-nuclear explosion in history.

As I write this, I am sitting in my hotel room in Halifax surrounded by a mountain of research. It’s been an exciting and jam-packed day. I walked along the harbor, visited two museums and a memorial, and spent time with a famous historian and author named Janet Kitz. Janet’s life work has been to preserve the stories of survivors of the 1917 Explosion and to make sure this event is never forgotten.

 

Liam Caswell at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum giving me a tour of their exhibit about the Explosion. He is dressed as a stretcher-bearer from that period. Like many in Halifax and Dartmouth, Caswell has a personal connection to the Explosion. His grandfather was a survivor.

 

Janet and I talked about the horrors of that day—the eye injuries from flying glass, the burning houses and businesses, the families searching for one another—but we also talked about how that day brought out the best in people. Neighbors plucked each other from the wreckage of their homes and communities around Nova Scotia sprang to action to help.

 

With Janet Kitz in her home overlooking Halifax Harbor

 

I was reminded of a simple truth that resonates today: Even in the worst circumstances, goodness can prevail.

I can't wait to bring this story to life for your students. Stay tuned for more!

Kristin

   

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