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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Attacked at Sea

Attacked at Sea

A True World War II Story of a Family's Fight for Survival

True Rescue Series

Michael J. Tougias and Alison O'Leary

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)


A riveting WWII account of survival at sea—Book 4 in the middle grade True Rescue series from Michael J. Tougias, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Finest Hours.

On May 19, 1942, during WWII, a U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico stalked its prey fifty miles from New Orleans. The submarine set its sights on the freighter Heredia. Most onboard were merchant seamen, but there were also civilians, including the Downs family: Ray and Ina, and their two children. Fast asleep in their berths, the Downs family had no idea that two torpedoes were heading their way. When the ship exploded, chaos ensued—and each family member had to find their own path to survival.

This inspiring historical narrative tells the story of the Downs family as they struggle against sharks, hypothermia, blinding oil, drowning, and dehydration in their effort to survive the aftermath of this deadly attack off the American coast.

Christy Ottaviano Books

New York Times bestselling author Michael J. Tougias adapts his histories of real life stories for young readers in his True Rescue Series, capturing the heroism and humanity of people on life-saving missions during maritime disasters.

Illustrated Chapter Books for ages 6-9:
True Rescue: The Finest Hours
True Rescue: A Storm Too Soon

Young Readers Adaptations, for ages 9-14
The Finest Hours (Young Readers Edition)
A Storm Too Soon (Young Readers Edition)
Into the Blizzard (Young Readers Edition)
Attacked at Sea (Young Readers Edition)



Eight-year-old Raymond “Sonny” Downs Jr. was disappointed by the drab gray freighter called Heredia looming above him at a port in Costa Rica. Sonny had steamed from the United States...

Praise for Attacked at Sea

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"This exciting, highly readable story of survival deserves a place on most library shelves. Perfect for young history buffs and older fans of the “I Survived” series."--School Library Journal

"Quotes from letters and diaries evoke the historical era. A well-researched account of one American family during a little-known episode of World War II." --Kirkus Reviews

After hours of dehydration, hypothermia, and shark threats, the survivors were sighted by plane and rescued by smaller craft . . . in this true survival story that judiciously carries forward beyond the relief of the rescue. The peril facing two children lost at sea is convincingly conveyed, and the lasting effect on their family life is equally sobering."--The Bulletin


Reviews from Goodreads

Michael J. Tougias and Alison O'Leary

Michael J. Tougias is the author of many true rescue stories for young readers and adults, including the New York Times–bestselling The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue; A Storm Too Soon: A Remarkable True Survival Story in 80-Foot Seas; and Into the Blizzard: Heroism At Sea During the Great Blizzard of 1978. A frequent lecturer at schools, colleges, and libraries, Tougias divides his time between Massachusetts and Florida.

Alison O'Leary is an award-winning journalist based in New England. She is a former correspondent for the Boston Globe and the author of So Close to Home and Inns and Adventures.

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

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