I was six years old when they found the wreckage of the Titanic, and though at that point I'd never heard of the ship, I still have distinct memories of watching the National Geographic special about it. Something about the eerie images of railings covered in cascading rust and staircases buried beneath an unthinkable amount of water struck a chord in my mind.
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster has something of the same feeling to it. It's told in straight chronological order, and as the various characters' stories show the impending catastrophe, it just gets creepier and creepier. Like Rachael said in her review, even though I knew perfectly well how the book would end, I still had a feeling of suspense, hoping that it would turn out differently. It's this tone, this sense of impending dread, that I think is the book's most distinguished feature.
I did have some of the same concerns Rachael had regarding the book's very high number of characters. I had some trouble keeping track of them all, and even though the book has a "People in this Book" section in its extensive back matter, it didn't actually include everyone discussed in its pages. (I really wanted to know more about Frederick Fleet, the lookout who first spotted the fateful iceberg.)
One of the biggest challenges in talking about books in a Newbery context is trying to separate the very good from the great. I think Titanic falls into the former category. It's solid through and through, but it doesn't quite have the near-mysticism of Moonbird, or the poetry of Hope and Tears. You should buy this book for your collection, read it, booktalk it, and recommend it, no question about it -- I just don't think it quite reaches the heights of this year's very best nonfiction titles.