Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Stolen by the sea

Stolen by the sea

Anna Myers
Historical Fiction
For ages 9 to 12
Walker Books, 2002   ISBN: 978-0802789761

Maggie McKenna lives in a beautiful white house in Galveston, Texas. She lives there with her mother and father and the only real blot on her life are the worries that she is having about the future arrival of her baby brother. He hasn't even arrived yet and her parents are already paying more attention to him than they are to her. Surely it will only get worse when he is born. Maggie is convinced that her father likes boys more than girls because he pays so much attention to Filipe, the Mexican boy who helps around the yard. Maggie's jealousy almost overwhelms her when she sees how happy her father is when he is with Filipe.

On September 7th Papa leaves home to take Mama to the doctor in Houston. While they are away a storm arrives and all of Maggie's worries are swept away to be replaced by far more important ones. Sea water floods the town and sweeps away houses and businesses. Even Papa's strong new house cannot hold out, and Maggie, Filipe, and Filipe's two little sisters are carried off by the waves. Maggie experiences all kinds of terrible things and, as chaos fills her world, she comes to appreciate how precious life is.

In this well written book Anna Myers, who has written numerous excellent historical fiction titles, describes what it was like to live through the terrible hurricane that hammered the city of Galveston in September of 1900. Through the eyes of Maggie we see how terrifying the experience was. We also get to compare the life of a child of privilege with the life of a poor immigrant in America at the turn of the century.