Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed by Sally M. Walker (Carolrhoda Books, 2010) is an in-depth look at some of the historical details, scientific research, and geological facts about the coldest and most uninhabited continent on earth. Interspersed among the thorough text are bright photographs, illustrations, and maps to further inform about the continent. Although the book is billed as a text for juveniles, probably middle school and older, I found the content to be fascinating and sophisticated. Not ever student researching Antarctica is going to need this level of detail in their nonfiction accounts, but others will, like me, be fascinated by the abundance of facts and details.
Although I have not often in my life thought much about the continent of Antarctica, Ms Walker’s book put the history of the continent and the implications of it’s changing nature into context. Her five chapters focus on the the difficulty of visiting Antarctica (both in history and currently); the impact of snow and ice on the continent; the scientific research that reveals the little bits of life and history to be seen beneath the ice; the ancient history found in the rocks; and the impact of global warning on Antarctica and, subsequently, the rest of the globe.
Part of what I am enjoying about my son’s “school at home” afternoons (see this post) is the fact that my son is constantly finding things that he’s fascinated by and asking to learn about. Because he is interested in maps, we learned about the seven continents (essentially, the simple fact that there are seven continents). I asked which of them he wanted to learn about and Antarctica won!
We’ve read a few children’s nonfiction books about the subject and he’s enjoyed them. We read a little bit about penguins too. And then I found this book, and I found myself immensely interested in Antarctica. It is far too advanced for my four-year-old but I hope to convince him to pour over the pictures with me and maybe we will be able to learn a little bit more about the continent now that I have a better foundation.