The fascinating history of this man-powered submarine is told in just enough detail to peak the interest of  middle grade kids.

The Hunley was designed to attack Union ships during the Civil War. It’s history was short with many missions ending in defeat and death.  This includes the original financier of the sub, Horace Lawson Hunley, who road along on one of its fateful journeys.

If there was ever a image to go with “If at once you fail, try, try again” this story would be it.

The vessel was propelled by seven men who hand cranked the device. An eighth man served as the navigator. On the night of February 17, 1864 the Hunley had its first and last success by sinking the USS Housatonic. The Hunley never resurfaced until efforts to find and recover it more than 130 years later brought the vessel back. When the conservation and stabilization work is complete, the submarine will be on display at the former Navy Base in North Charleston, South Carolina

The engrossing story is accompanied with color illustrations vividly depicting the submarine or fish boat as it was called. Modern day photographs show the Hunley as it looks today, along with many of the dedicated workers bringing it back to life. The last part of the book is a nice feature on one of the conservators and archaeologists  and what their job entails. A great teaser for kids who may have interest in this line of work as a career.

Easy to read and a sure winner for anyone’s historical library.



The story of the H. L. Hunley submarine is about American ingenuity and real people who were inventive, loyal, brave, resilient, persistent, and adventurous. The Hunley, built by the Confederate Army during the Civil War, was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship during wartime. After that historic feat, the Hunley disappeared.

For more than a century, the fate and location of the Confederate submarine remained unknown. In The H. L. Hunley Submarine, Fran Hawk tells the exciting and compelling tale of how the “fish boat” was invented, how it underwent trials and tribulations in war, and how it got from the bottom of the ocean to its current resting place in the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in North Charleston, South Carolina.

Who invented the H. L. Hunley? How did it operate without an engine? How and why did it sink? What did researchers find when they investigated the submarine? Archaeologists and conservationists from all over the world have studied the historic vessel in search of answers. Which mysteries have they solved,and which mysteries remain for future generations to answers.


Fran Hawk is the author of The Story of the H. L. Hunley and Queenie’s Coin, Ten Tips for Raising Readers, and Countdown to Fall. She worked as a school librarian for ten years while writing a weekly children’s book-review column for the Charleston Post & Courier. Hawk later served as a librarian at a small alternative school for at-risk children. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Randolph College and a master’s of library science from Vanderbilt University. She lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, not far from where the Hunley crew lived and worked.

Monica Wyrick has a fine arts degree from the University of Dayton and has worked in advertising, as a muralist, and as an art instructor. Wyrick and her husband live in South Carolina and have three grown children.


Coming up next Monday is:

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com

 (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!

*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.


If you have a few minutes this weekend, check out my Middle Grade Historical Fiction entry in the 2017 Pitch Wars contest. It was one of 41 MG finalists and it garnered some interest from a wonderful batch of agents.

That’s all for now. See you next week for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in New Release, non fiction, Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I have another book about the Hunley. Such a fascinating story. Thanks for the heads up on this one. I will check it out.

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