Project Description

Teacher’s Guide


Disaster in San Francisco, 1906

by Gail Langer Karwoski
illustrated by Robert Papp

“Buildings were weaving in and out and the street pitched like a stormy sea. The ground shook with such violence that Jacob thought the world was coming to an end.”

It is before daybreak on April 18, 1906. Jacob Kaufman slips out of the wooden boarding house where he lives with his immigrant father and little sister Rosie, his father’s harsh words still ringing in his ears.

Suddenly the ground beneath his feet begins to rumble, buildings collapse and the street splits wide open as Jacob runs to find safety from a devastating earthquake. Fires engulf the city. He returns to find his father and sister… but there is nothing left of the building but a pile of sticks. Jacob and his dog join the throng of other people searching for shelter, food, fresh water…and loved ones who are missing.

In award-winning author Gail Langer Karwoski’s stirring fictional account of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, young readers will relive the drama of the actual event and its devastating aftermath, through the courageous survival of a young boy. An Author’s Note at the end carefully separates fact from fiction, giving young readers a glimpse into one of the worst earthquakes in modern history.

Hardcover: $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-310-8
Total Pages: 153
Size: 6 x 9
Language: English
Paperback: $8.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-369-6
Total Pages: 153
Size: 6 x 9
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-56145-610-9
Age Range: 8 – 12
Language: English

Purchase this E-book through the following vendors:

Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Recorded Books

Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 78552
AR Reading Level: 4.7
AR Points: 6

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: T
F&P Grade: 5

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 4.3
Reading Counts Points: 10
Reading Counts Interest Level: 3-5


“Karwoski’s research is apparent in the many vivid details of life after the earthquake, but readers will be less concerned with social issues and than with the developing stories of the sympathetic characters.” ―Booklist

“Karwoski’s novel conveys very capably the fear, disorientation, and shock of living through a major disaster and coping with the aftermath… Quake! combines disaster and family longing for a sturdily constructed and affecting look at the past.” ―School Library Journal


Maxwell Medal (children’s) ―Dog Writers of America 2004

Notable Children’s Books of Jewish Content: the Best of the Bunch (older readers) ―Association of Jewish Libraries 2004

Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 2004

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (starred, primary) ―Kansas National Education Association 2005

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Land of Enchantment Book Awards (Master List) ―New Mexico Library Association, New Mexico Council of IRA 2007-2008

Volunteer State Book Awards (master list, 4-6) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2006-2007

Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award (nominee grades 3-8) ―FAME 2006-2007

Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (master list) ―Salem State College 2006-2007

Rhode Island Children’s Book Award (nominee) ―Rhode Island IRA Chapter, RILA, REIMA 2006

Nevada Young Readers’ Award, Young Reader Category (nominee) ―Nevada Library Association 2007

Read Less

Meet the Author

Gail Langer Karwoski taught third- and fourth-grade students for many years. She received a BA from the University of Massachusetts and an MA from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Georgia. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Robert Papp has produced hundreds of award-winning illustrations for books from many different publishers, from romance novels to young adult books. He lives in Pennsylvania, with his wife, Lisa, who is also an artist.