Ten Ships that Rocked the World by G. Richardson

  • Merrill Distad


Richardson, Gillian. Ten Ships that Rocked the World. The World of Tens Series. Illus. Kim Rosen. Annick Press, 2015.

Although nominally aimed at an audience of 9- to 12-year-olds, this children’s book unconventionally features a formal introduction, concluding epilogue, selected bibliography, further readings list, and a comprehensive index! Author Richardson follows her award-winning first contribution to the World of Tens series, Ten Plants that Shook the World, with this entry recounting the stories of ships significant in world history. The ships range from those of 15th-century, Ming-Chinese Admiral Zheng He’s treasure fleet to the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior and the super-tanker Sirius Star that was hijacked by Somali pirates and held for ransom in 2008. Along the way, she chronicles Vasco da Gama’s flagship São Gabriel; the Lady Penrhyn which carried 104 women to Australia in 1787 as part of the “First Fleet” of transported convicts; the U.S.S. Susquehanna, that served as Commodore Perry’s flagship on his epic, diplomatic voyage to Japan; the Confederate Navy’s C.S.S. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a warship; the Komagata Maru and its cargo of would-be immigrants from India, turned away from Canada’s shores in 1914; the rechristened steamer Exodus (ex President Warfield), that brought Jewish refugees to the shores of Palestine in 1947; and the motor yacht Granma on which Fidel Castro secretly travelled from Mexico to Cuba in 1956 to incite and lead a revolution.

Each vessel is provided with a history, physical description, account of its historical context and significant voyages, and its impact on subsequent world history. Imagined sketches of the experience of some passengers illuminate several of these accounts. All of this provides illustrator Kim Rosen with ample scope to employ photographs to augment her colourful designs and page layouts. The author acknowledges the assistance Capt A.C. Brooking, master mariner, who helped her ensure the accuracy of all things nautical. A book that can amuse, instruct, and be enjoyed by both children, and adults, it is recommended for all school and public libraries. 

Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Merrill Distad

Historian and author Merrill Distad enjoyed a four-decade career building libraries and library collections.

How to Cite
Distad, M. (2018). Ten Ships that Rocked the World by G. Richardson. The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 7(3). https://doi.org/10.20361/G2XT3F
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