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About The Book

In the wake of Lifeboat 12 comes a World War II novel-in-verse by acclaimed author Susan Hood about two very real girls who clung together for dear life when their evacuee ship was torpedoed, their lifeboat capsized, and they spent nineteen hours in the Atlantic Ocean, waiting for rescue.

When Nazi bombs begin to destroy Bess Walder’s hometown of East London, Bess convinces her parents to evacuate her and her younger brother, Louis, to Canada aboard the SS City of Benares. On the journey, she meets another evacuee, Beth Cummings. Bess and Beth have a lot in common—both strong and athletic, both named for Queen Elizabeth, both among the older kids on the ship, and both excited about life in Canada.

On the fifth day at sea, everyone starts to relax, but trouble is right behind them. That night, a Nazi U-boat torpedoes the Benares. As their luxury liner starts to sink, Bess and Beth rush to abandon ship aboard their assigned lifeboat.

Based on true events and real people, Lifeboat 5 is about two young girls with the courage to persevere against the odds and the strength to forgive.

About The Author

Photograph courtesy of the author

Susan Hood is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including Ada’s ViolinAlias AnnaHarboring HopeThe Last StrawLifeboat 12, and Shaking Things Up. Susan is the recipient of the E.B. White Honor Award, two Christopher Awards, the Américas Award, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, and the Bank Street Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, given to “a distinguished work of nonfiction that serves as an inspiration to young people.” In addition to winning many state reading awards, Susan’s books have been named a National Jewish Book Awards finalist, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book, a NCTE Notable Poetry Book, a NSTA Best Stem Book of the Year, an Amazon Teachers’ Pick, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, and a Bank Street Best Book of the Year. Visit her at

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