Audrey Under the Big Top: A Hartford Circus Fire Survival Story

by Jessica Gunderson (Author) Wendy Tan Shiau Wei (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Series: Girls Survive

Twelve-year-old Audrey wants nothing more than to be a dance performer and aerialist, but that feels far from reality in 1944 Hartford, Connecticut. So when she learns the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to town, Audrey is determined to be there under the big top. It's her only chance to see the Flying Wallendas, a world-renowned highwire act, perform. Audrey convinces her mother to let her take her six-year-old twin sisters with her to the show. But disaster strikes when a fire breaks out under the big top. Can Audrey escape--and find her siblings--before the tent comes crashing down?

Readers can learn the real story of the Hartford Circus Fire from the nonfiction backmatter, including a glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, and more, in this Girls Survive story.

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Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Stone Arch Books
Publication date
January 20, 2022
Girls Survive

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