I Survived Books for Your Homeschool

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Homeschooling with Dyslexia

When my boys were younger, we read a lot of Magic Tree House books to learn about history, animals, geography, and weather and other natural disasters and in our homeschool.  Now, that they are older, I find us turning to the I Survived… series of books for this purpose.

This historical fiction series, currently at 19 books, tells stories of young men and women surviving a variety of natural and man-made disasters.  We love these well-researched books because they are fast paced, give the reader the feeling of what it would have been like to have experienced the event, and contain lots of facts at the end of each book.  There is a theme of resilience that runs through every story.

Pinnable Cover for I Survived Book Series post showing 3 books and 3 pages of notetaking sheets.

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Below I have listed the books in historical order with topics provided so that you can easily add them into your homeschool based upon what you are studying or what real events are happening in the world.  A few have links to FREE unit studies to accompany the books!

Lauren Tarshis, the author of the series, has also written three non-fiction books with stories that relate to her fictional stories.  See below which non-fiction book makes a good companion for each story.

Make sure you download the FREE notebooking pages at the end of the post that can be used with any of the books.  A writing prompt, Venn diagram, and sequencing activity are included!

I Survived Books: Ancient History

I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii, 79 AD
Subject Area: Natural Disasters, Volcanoes

Visit Italy near the turn of the first millennium to learn about volcanoes.  You could read I Survived Mount St. Helen’s, 1980 (below) after this book and compare and contrast the two volcanic events.

I Survived Books: 1700s and 1800s

I Survived the American Revolution, 1776
Subject Area: War, American History

Head to New York City and learn about the battles that came next after the battles in Boston.

I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863
Subject Area: War, American History

Another American war book where you can travel back Pennsylvania to one the largest battles fought during the Civil War.

I Survived the Great Chicago Fire, 1871
Subject Area: Natural Disasters
Non-fiction companion book: Nature Attacks

Learn how the Chicago fire spread through the city and how it impacted the people who lived there.

I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888
Subject Area: Natural Disasters, Weather
Non-fiction companion book: Five Epic Disasters

Travel to the Dakotas and learn about the blizzard that caught people off guard leaving children stuck at school.  While the stories are similar to some told in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter, this particular blizzard took place a few years later.

I Survived Books: 1900s

I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
Subject Area: Natural Disasters

Learn what an amazing city San Francisco was in 1906 and how a major earthquake changed it.


I Survived The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
Subject Areas: Man-made Disasters, Transportation
Non-fiction companion book: Five Epic Disasters

Learn what a unique vessel the Titanic was and what led to its demise.

I Survived The Shark Attacks of 1916
Subject Area: Animals
Non-fiction companion book: Nature Attacks

Check out our Shark Attacks FREE Unit Study!

Learn about the event that made many people realize sharks are actually dangerous to humans!  This event was the basis for the classic movie, Jaws.

I Survived the Great Molasses Flood, 1919
Subject Area: Man-made Disasters
Non-fiction companion book: Five Epic Disasters

This is the latest I Survived book at the time of writing and takes us to Boston to tell a story many of us probably never heard of!

I Survived The Hindenburg Disaster, 1937
Subject Area: Man-made Disaster, Transportation

Learn about the German airship that caught fire landing in New Jersey, ending the use of all airships.

I Survived The Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941
Subject Area: War, World History

Feel what is was like to be in Hawaii during the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  A great addition to a study of World War 2.

I Survived the Battle of D-Day, 1944
Subject Area: War, World History

Continue your study of World War 2 by traveling to France and experiencing D-day.

I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944
Subject Area: War, World History

Finally, this book about the Holocaust will allow children to understand one of the main reasons World War 2 was fought.  They will be introduced to ghettos and Jewish resistance fighters.

I Survived The Attack of the Grizzlies, 1967
Subject Area: Animals

This book, set in Glacier National Park, introduces children to another animal that can be dangerous to humans.

I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980
Subject Area: Natural Disasters, Volcanoes
Non-fiction companion book: Nature Attacks

Travel to Washington state to learn what it was like to live through the deadliest volcanic eruption in US history.

I Survived Books: 2000s

I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001
Subject Area: War

This difficult story is told through the lens of first responders, focusing on the ‘helpers’.

I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Subject area: Natural Disasters, Weather

Travel to New Orleans to learn how devastating hurricanes can be.  Children will learn about levees and how they broke due to the storm.

I Survived the Joplin Tornado, 2011
Subject Area: Natural Disasters, Weather
Non-fiction companion book: Tornado Terror and Five Epic Disasters

Check out our Tornadoes FREE Unit Study!

Learn about weather forecasting and what living through a tornado is like.

I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011
Subject Area: Natural Disaster
Non-fiction companion book: Five Epic Disasters

Learn about this devastating tsunami and what causes them.

Which book do you think you will read first?  Comment below!

Download the FREE Notebooking Pages

These notebooking pages provide space to answer questions about each event, draw a picture of the event, record new vocabulary words, sequence the event, compare and contrast it with other similar events.  A writing prompt is also included!

Download the Pages

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