Secrets of a Civil War Submarine

Solving the Mysteries of the H. L. Hunley

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 12   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

On February 17, 1864, the H.L. Hunley made history as the first submarine to sink a ship in battle. Soldiers on the shore waited patiently after seeing the submarine’s return signal. But after several days, the ship had failed to return. What had gone wrong? In 1995, after over 130 years of searching, the H.L. Hunley was finally found buried off the coast of South Carolina. Follow author, Sally M. Walker on a fascinating journey through the workings of the famous submarine, its voyages, and the difficult obstacles that were overcome to recover, excavate and conserve the ship.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Nonfiction
Category Social Studies
Copyright 2005
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Books ®
Language English
Number of Pages 112
Publication Date 2005-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 7.8
Dewey 973.7'57
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Lexile 1060
ATOS Reading Level 8.2
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 85867
Accelerated Reader® Points 4.0
Features Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews


  • National Endowment for the Humanities Nonfiction Booklist for Young Readers, Winner, 2016
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal, Winner, 2006
  • Booklist Top 10 Sci-Tech Books for Youth, Winner, 2005
  • ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist, Short-listed, 2005
  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon, Winner, 2005
  • USA Book News Book Award, Winner, 2005
  • ALA Notable Children's Books, Winner, 2005
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2005
  • ILA Teacher's Choices, Winner, 2005
  • Orbis Pictus Award Recommended Book, Commended, 2005
  • Book Links Lasting Connection, Winner, 2005


School Library Journal

“The mysterious disappearance of a Confederate submarine in 1863 becomes even more fascinating when seen through the eyes of the divers, archaeologists, engineers, and other experts who pieced together the details more than a century later. Full-color photographs, helpful diagrams, and engaging writing contribute to this unique and multi-faceted look at how history works.” —School Library Journal


“She [Walker] really hits her stride, though, in explaining the complex techniques and loving care used in raising the craft, recovering its contents, and even reconstructing models of the crwemembers’ bodies. Thoroughly researched, nicely designed, and well illustrated with clear, color photos, the book will serve as an informative guide to anyone interested in the Hunley or intrigued by archaelogy.” —Booklist, Starred review

School Library Journal

“The archaeological process is well documented in both words and pictures, and the conclusions are interesting and even surprising. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.” —School Library Journal, Starred review


“Walker skillfully combines history, science, and storytelling in clear and accessible writing that will appeal to middle school students as well as older readers. . . Abundant photographs and illustrations are attractive and informative, and the layout is clean and attention grabbing. . . Walker lets readers know the people behind the facts. . . the Hunley is fascinating and should captivate readers looking to savor a real-life historical mystery.” —VOYA

Author: Sally M. Walker

Sally M. Walker has been a children's book writer for over 20 years. Most of her books are nonfiction and present various science topics to young readers. Fossil Fish Found Alive is the story of the hunt for the elusive fish called the coelacanth. Sally also enjoys combining science investigation with historical topics. Her book Secrets of a Civil War Submarine, which won the 2006 Robert F. Sibert Medal, tells about the history, loss, and re-discovery of the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in battle. Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland takes readers on archaeological expeditions, where the forensic analysis of colonial settlers' bones helps us to understand their lives. Sally especially enjoys writing narrative nonfiction that captures the reader's attention with a true story. She is also the author of 2019 Orbis Pictus Honor Book Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut.