‘Women, children and unbelievers to the lifeboats please!’ was John Harper’s compelling cry as Titanic went down by the head on that tragic night in April 1912. For this Glasgow pastor, preaching was far more than a job: talking about Jesus and His saving power was a way of life. His message was never more urgent than that frosty night in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when 1,517 souls were swept indiscriminately into Eternity.
Titanic: The Ship of Dreams by Robert Plant is the true story of John Harper, who boarded the Titanic with his six-year-old motherless daughter Nana (Jessica Annie). Aimed at younger readers, the chapters are short and the storyline is gripping and easy to follow. The story is mainly told through the eyes of Nana, as she and her friends explore the ship from end to end. See the ship’s millionnaires, correct crew and hard-working stokers through Nana’s eyes as she and her friends trespass into first class, getting caught by John Jacob Aster and his young wife Madeline, and explore boiler rooms where stokers are busily shovelling coal to keep the engines working. While a certain amount of fiction has been woven through the storyline, the book appears to have been well-researched and all the characters are real people who actually sailed on the Titanic.
When Titanic hit the iceberg, John’s first priority was to see his precious Nana safely into a lifeboat. His next priority was to share the saving news of Jesus with as many of the ship’s passengers as he possibly could. The last moments of his life are faithfully reported from eye witness accounts, who recall that he gave away his life jacket and used his last words to urge the dying men and women in the icy waters around him to get right with God before they perished.
I think this is a great book historically and spiritually for children to read. On this hundredth year anniversary of the Titanic’s fateful maiden voyage, it is good for children to know the facts. Spiritually, it is both heart-warming and challenging, a call to live out our faith in a real way and to realise that the very rich need the good news of Jesus as well as the poor. I can heartily recommend this book to parents and to anyone who works with children.
I am grateful to Christian Focus Publications for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of writing a review.