Explosion Newsie

by Jacqueline Halsey

illustrated by Loretta Migani

Share the adventure of a ten-year-old boy who must save the day by getting the news out after the city exploded!

On December 6, 1917, two ships collided in the busy wartime harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The resulting explosion was the biggest man-made blast prior to the development of nuclear weapons. It flattened one fifth of the city. Thousands of people were killed that day and thousands more injured or made homeless. One lucky survivor, ten-year-old newsie Macky, has a key job to do -- get the news out.

The beautiful and compelling illustrations in this book help tell the story of what it was like to be a working child of ten in the city that day. Macky, an unreliable and fun-loving boy, has to deliver the news to a confused and wrecked city where the only way to know what happened to missing loved ones was to read the local newspaper.

This story is based on the real experiences of young boys who worked as paperboys in the 1900s. Jacqueline Halsey has woven a wonderful story, which conveys the value of the work of young people in a compelling real-life setting.

About the Authors

Jacqueline Halsey
Jacqueline Halsey

JACQUELINE HALSEY was born in London, England. After several globe-trotting years she and her family discovered Nova Scotia and they have lived there ever since. For many years, she was a programmer in the youth services department of Alderney Gate Public Library in Halifax. She is also the author of Peggy's Letters, a Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" starred selection, and nominated for both the Hackmatack Children's Choice Award and the Rocky Mountain Children's Book Award and an Honour Book in Ontario's Silver Birch Express Awards. She is also the author of the celebrated Bluenose Adventure, a tale of the experiences of a ten-year-old "flunky" working aboard the fishing schooner Bluenose.

LORETTA MIGANI is an artist living in Nova Scotia. Born in Southport, England, she attended Queensland College of Art in Australia. Loretta works primarily in oils and sculpture. This is her first book.


"Halsey is quite successful at turning a historical moment into a captivating story, one that will appeal the most to young school-aged children. The illustrations in Explosion Newsie are realistic and detailed. Migani excels at depicting facial expressions and action scenes; the reader can almost feel how cold it is outside! The illustrations complement the text well, and both work together to provide the reader with a realistic and compelling story. Highly Recommended"
CM Magazine
"The story and illustrations together create a compelling portrait of the time period: what life was like for a boy whose father was overseas and whose older brother had to work in a factory... Grim without being too graphic for its intended audience, the tender reunion at the end helps it to remain a heartwarming historical tale that is based on true events."
Lisa Doucet,, Atlantic Books Today
"This story would be a welcome addition to any public or school library in Canada because it shows the events of the Halifax Explosion through the eyes of a nine year old boy; much as it would have happened during that time period."
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