Thursday, January 24, 2008
The White Darkness
McCaughrean, Geraldine. 2007. THE WHITE DARKNESS. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780060890353 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]
Sym, a painfully shy hearing impaired fourteen year old, is fascinated with Antarctica and the Scott Expedition of 1910 which ended in tragedy. In fact, she has even made one of the explorers, Captain Oakes, into an imaginary friend and confidante. At first she is excited and thrilled when her Uncle Victor decides that she will accompany him on an expedition to Antarctica, but as his craziness and obsession to find the legendary Symmes’s Hole, a portal to the interior of a hollow earth, becomes more pronounced, the trip becomes dangerous and Sym must do everything she can to save her own life.
Told entirely from Sym’s point of view, the story often parallels the stories of the other expeditions to the dangerous and unexplored continent. Sym’s commentary about her fellow travelers adds humor to the story which is a fine mixture of mystery, adventure, survival, and just a little of the supernatural. The book won the 2007 Printz Award.
Use for an adventure, explorers, or survival unit with middle graders. Pair it with non-fiction accounts or biographies of explorers and exploration in Antarctica.
Or, for a more light-hearted look, pair it with Andrea White’s SURVIVING ANTARTICA REALITY TV 2083.
Books dealing with exploration of the Antarctic include:
Armstrong, Jennifer. SHIPWRECK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD: THE EXTRAORDINARY TRUE STORY OF SHACKLETON AND THE ENDURANCE. ISBN 9780375810497
Myers, Joan. WONDROUS COLD: AN ANTARCTIC JOURNEY. ISBN 9781588342386
Solomon, Susan. THE COLDEST MARCH: SCOTT’S FATAL ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION. ISBN 9780300099218
By Janet Hilbun