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“Quake” by Gail Karwoski

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 848
  • Category: Books

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            In the book, (Karwoski, 2004), “Quake: Disaster in San Francisco, 1906” by author Gail Karwoski, we read a story about a young boy by the name of Jacob Kaufman, who is the age of thirteen, living in the year, 1906 in San Francisco.

            Jacob lives with his sister and dad where he witnesses an earthquake in the city, where he sees buildings falling down and watches as the earth shakes before, him causing great devastation to everything surrounding him. Jacob thought the world was coming to a quick end and he was horribly frightened as he felt helpless in stopping the earthquake from taking place near his boarding house.

            The words of harshness that were spoken by Jacob’s dad were on his mind and he was terribly worried for the safety of him and his little sister, Rosie. Jacob had no other choice but to run to find a place of safety until the earthquake was over and his life was luckily, spared.

            There were terrible fires raging everywhere and when Jacob returns to the place where he formally lived, he finds his family but the boarding house where they had lived was destroyed.

            Jacob and his dog are able to help out during this difficult time and they save the life of a very young Chinese boy by the name of San, who then joins with Jacob and they go on a search to find their lost family members. They have to find food to eat and also a place to sleep.

            Jacob quickly learns how San is a target of abuse because of his nationality and is able to befriend San as they learn about true friendship

            This book offers a look at racial bonding and the force of goodness between people in a time of despair. We learn about people pulling together and how a natural disaster can cause human beings to break racial barriers in order to survive and help others during an earthquake.

             It is very sad when Jacob discovers his grandmother who was killed during the earthquake and we learn how quickly this kind of natural disaster can take lives and create huge destruction.

            Jacob Kaufman becomes a hero in this story because of his courage and willingness to help others, no matter what country they were from. He was brave as he searched for food and water and helped throughout the city to find victims of the earthquake, as his dog followed him.

            Discrimination wasn’t thought about after the earthquake, only finding people who needed help and lending a hand wherever possible. Jacob and San proved that two people can forget about racial backgrounds and work hard to help all human kind when they need assistance.

            This book shows many nationalities, including Jews, Chinese and Italians who have the same goal in this story of surviving and also learning to forget about previous disagreements with family members.

            Jacob Kaufman is a true friend in this story and he displays kindness and generosity and hope for his own family, as well as others. There is no selfishness in Jacob as he learns that life can change for us in an instant and material possessions can be taken away very swiftly.

            It was easy to imagine the earthquake that took place in the early nineteen hundreds, because the author gave such good description with her words and you almost felt like you were witnessing the earthquake, yourself. The author had spoken as if she had seen an earthquake, herself

            We can gain valuable information from this book about how we should treat others from every race and nationality. We should always treat people with kindness and be ready to help others in times of trouble.

            This story also teaches us to always remain optimistic and keep faith that good things can come from acts of destruction, no matter how bad things may seem. We can always find ways to make a situation better by remaining hopeful and keeping good faith while remaining strong and courageous so that we will be ready and able to help others and move on with our lives, after a natural disaster or any other hardship that arises during our lifetime.

             I will always remember Jacob Kaufman as a young boy who was a true champion and good friend to all, in the city of San Francisco during the earthquake in the year, 1906.

            I would highly recommend this book to others who are interested in earthquakes and other natural disasters and to people who want to learn about past times in history and the way humans interacted during this time.

            Gail Karwoski is a great author and is able to communicate to her audience the importance of friendship and kindness.


Karwoski, Gail. (2006) “Quake: Disaster in San Francisco, 1906”. Peach Tree Publishers.

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