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Children's Fiction Post-confederation (1867-)

A Terrible Tide

by (author) Suzanne Meade

Second Story Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Post-Confederation (1867-), Disasters, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


November 18th, 1929. In her small village in Newfoundland, Celia is setting the table for her 13th birthday celebration when the house starts to shake. It's an earthquake, rumbling under the Atlantic Ocean. A few hours later, the sea water disappears from the harbor, only to rush back in a wave almost 30 feet high, destroying nearly everything in its path. Buildings, boats, and winter supplies of fish and food are washed away, and Celia and her community are devastated. With their only phone line cut off and no safe route to get help, they are isolated and facing a long, cold, hungry winter.

Their house destroyed and village in ruins, Celia and her family must band together and share the work needed for the community to survive. Can Celia find the courage to help her injured loved ones? Will help arrive before it's too late

Based on the true story of an earthquake that shook Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula, A Terrible Tide tells the tale of this forgotten disaster from the point of view of a young girl whose life is turned upside down.

About the author

Suzanne Meade is a Canadian author specializing in historical fiction. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she is passionate about telling stories that connect with girls, women, and other marginalized communities. In her spare time, she enjoys genealogy, yoga, reading, watching sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero movies, and playing video games. She currently teaches elementary school French and lives with her family and pets in Hamilton.


Suzanne Meade's profile page


  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award for English Fiction
  • Short-listed, Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens, Spring 2022

Editorial Reviews

“…the tale will transfix readers with both the adventure of the tidal wave and its aftermath and the many historical details that bring to life an isolated but close-knit fishing community…Gripping and strengthening.”

Kirkus Reviews (STARRED)

"A compelling and engaging novel of historical fiction for 9- to 14-year-olds, set in a time and place many will not know, but the characters, especially the young people, feel and behave in ways that all children will understand."

Parry Sound North Star

"...this dramatic story of one family’s fight to survive a horrific disaster, shown through the eyes of a 13-year-old, will keep 9 to 12-year-old readers engaged"

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"With an ending that is both tender and hopeful, A Terrible Tide provides young readers with a glimpse of how a determined girl can find the inner strength to cope with the unexpected in a world turned upside down."

Quill & Quire

"Told in episodic journal form through the eyes of Celia, this narrative is filled with all the emotional highs and lows a survivor endures in the midst, and aftermath, of a natural disaster."

School Library Journal (STARRED)

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