Friday, August 6, 2010

Awesome Arctic: Booktalk 1

Imagine traveling to the North Pole, a land where nothing is permanent except the seabed far below the ice itself. The air is 15 degrees below zero, and it is completely dark six months out of the year. Unlike the South Pole, the North Pole doesn’t have permanent research stations and scientists living there year round. In many ways, the North Pole is trickier, sneakier, and more mysterious than the South Pole. It seems to have more secrets which are harder to uncover. That’s why the New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin visited the North Pole and wrote this book. He’s an environmental reporter and the first Times reporter to file stories directly from the North Pole. It’s pretty amazing what he went through to get there. It can take days in small planes landing on obscure, icy runways. You have to wear huge, bulky clothing and spend a lot of time sitting around waiting. When you get there, during the daylight months, the sun is blinding, the air is frigid, and you can forget about taking showers. You lose all sense of time because it’s perpetual daylight. Only bring pencils, because pens will freeze up, and you won’t be able to write. Revkin explores many of the mysteries of the North Pole: why the magnetic field there is always shifting; how global warming could massively change the North Pole; and why so many explorers have died trying to get to the Pole. I loved The North Pole Was Here by Andrew C. Revkin.

The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World by Andrew C. Revkin. 128 p. Kingfisher, 2006. Booktalk to intermediate grades, middle school, even high school.

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