The latest book in Lauren Tarshis’ “I Survived” series places readers smack dab in the middle of the deadly EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin on May 22, 2011. The story follows an eleven-year-old boy named Dexter James as he meets famous storm chaser Dr. Norman Gage, and later, gets to join him on his latest chase in Joplin.

Dexter hopes the ride-along will provide him with a fascinating story to share with his brother Jeremy when he comes home from his Navy SEALs mission, but he never imagined the danger that he would be placed in, nor the courage that he would have to muster in order to help others.

While the story is slight, Tarshis grabs readers’ attention with her accessible writing and fast paced plot. As always her facts are well-researched and related at a level children can understand. Tarshis’ titles typically fly off library shelves and this addition will not be an exception. Readers are sure to devour it.

At the conclusion of the story, in Tarshis’ explanation to why she wrote about the tornado in Joplin, she says the story is unusual because “it was the people of Joplin who suggested she write it”. She goes on to share that it was during her visit to Joplin in 2014, that she was able to meet many children and hear first-hand accounts of their experiences.

Her visit also allowed her to meet teachers, librarians, local residents, and to get a feel for the Joplin community. She states that while it is officially a city, it feels more like a small town, with incredibly friendly people.

And generously, she is planning another visit to Joplin in October 2015. Not only will she be revisiting the elementary schools she went to in 2014, but she will make a stop at the Joplin Public Library!

Library officials are working with Tarshis on final details and will share more information soon, but preliminarily have Tuesday, October 6th set as the program date. Please visit the Library’s online calendar at: for more details as they become available.