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Audrey Under the Big Top: A Hartford Circus Fire Survival Story
Audrey Under the Big Top: A Hartford Circus Fire Survival Story
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Reviewed Titles Accelerated Reader
Girls Survive

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

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.

GenreHistorical Fiction
Reading LevelGrades 3-5
Interest LevelGrades 3-7
Lexile LevelNC540L
ATOS Level4
AR Points1
AR Quiz #515220
Text TypeLiterature: Narrative
PublisherStone Arch Books
BrandGirls Survive
Page Dimensions5 1/4" x 7 1/2"
Page Count112
Capstone Interactive eBook
List Price: $53.32 School/Library Price

Additional Formats
Price: $19.99


Kirkus Reviews

"An aspiring young aerialist finds herself in the midst of a terrible tragedy in this story based on the real-life 1944 Hartford Circus Fire. . . .Set against the backdrop of the Second World War (Audrey’s dad is an Army medic overseas), Audrey’s resilience shines as her father’s adage carries her through: “Be brave.” Gunderson’s text is brisk and emotionally engaging, with airtight plot development. . . .Another gripping addition to an early chapter book series that will inspire appreciation of heroines and history." - Kirkus Reviews

January 15, 2022

Jessica Gunderson

Jessica Gunderson

Jessica Gunderson grew up in the small town of Washburn, North Dakota. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota and an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has written more than fifty books for young readers. Her book Ropes of Revolution won the 2008 Moonbeam Award for best graphic novel. She currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and cat.

Go to the Author’s Page →