Friday, April 06, 2007

The Arctic in poetry

Is it still cold and snowy where you live just now? Spring has come in spurts here, but we’re still having a few chilly days and nights. It’s a good moment to stop and recognize the date on which Robert Peary and his team including Matthew Henson, Ootah, Egigingwah, Seegloo and Ooqueah, are said to have reached the geographic North Pole in 1909. Peary claimed to have been the first, although this has been subject to ongoing debate. Kids may enjoy digging into this controversy or reading more about the Arctic. Here are some of my favorite children’s (nonfiction) books on this topic:

Curlee, Lynn. 1998. Into the Ice: The Story of Arctic Explorations. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Ekoomiak, Normee. 1992. Arctic Memories. Holt.
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. 1994. Arctic Hunter. Photographs by Lawrence Migdale. Holiday House.
Kusugak, Michael Arvaarluk. 2005. My Arctic 1, 2, 3. North York, Ontario: Annick Press, Limited.
Pandell, Karen. 1993. Land of Dark, Land of Light: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Dutton.

And can you believe there’s poetry about the Arctic, too? Eileen Spinelli has written an engaging picture book collection, Polar Bear, Arctic Hare; Poems of the Frozen North, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, with a focus on the plant and animal life of the region. Here’s a sampling:

Arctic Nursery Rhyme
by Eileen Spinelli

Arctic tundra,
Arctic tundra,
How does your garden grow?
With lupine seeds
And fireweeds
And bearberries all in a row.

From: Spinelli, Eileen. 2007. Polar Bear, Arctic Hare; Poems of the Frozen North. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, p. 12.

For more poetry about geography, exploration, and ice and snow, look for:
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Compiler. 2006. Got Geography! New York: Greenwillow.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2001. A Burst of Firsts. New York: Dial.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2002. A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme. New York: Dial Books.
Sierra, Judy. 1998. Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems. New York: Gulliver Books.
Yolen, Jane. comp. 1997. Once Upon Ice and Other Frozen Poems. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.

1 comment:

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