Monday, August 9, 2010

Awesome Arctic: Booktalk 3

Even though fourteen-year-old Alika hasn’t been a teenager for long, he’s an accomplished Inuit seal hunter, and he his family live about as close as humans live to the North Pole in 1868. Seal hunting is a way of life to the Inuit people, and Alika and his younger brother, Sulu, have traveled to the edge of a thick ice floe which is attached to land. It’s the time of the long winter darkness, and Alika and Sulu have come by ice sledge led by their dogs. Their lead sledge dog, Jamka, has sniffed out a seal hole, and Alika sees his chance to wait for the seal to pop up to the surface and provide them with the food they so badly need for the long, dark, frigid winter. But Alika is starting to push his luck: it looks as if a gale is coming, and their village of Nunatak is seven miles away. Alika’s ancestors have been living in this neck of the woods for thousands and thousands of years, and all children are taught to hunt, to build iglus, to predict the thickness of ice over water, to fight off polar bear attacks, and to survive sub-zero weather. If they’re not taught this at a young age, they’ll die. Remember: the Arctic is a formidable foe. It has lots of tricks up its sleeve, and it had one trick that Alika did not see coming: ice floes can break away from the land they’ve attached themselves to. They’re like big ice rafts, basically, and Alika watches in horror as he and his young brother and their dogs are suddenly adrift at sea, all alone on an ice floe: Ice Drift by Theodore Taylor.

Ice Drift by Theodore Taylor. 224 p. Harcourt, 2005. Booktalk to intermediate grades, middle school, even early high school.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Carey,

    Thanks for your comment on Life of Pi. I am going to stick with it!