Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Antarctica

Adventures of an Ice Princess - (ISBN: 0451213009)

by Liz Maverick

When three real California girls find themselves without job options in the 48 states, they opt for what they think will be an adventurous opportunity to find new boyfriends among the scientists and male staff at the South Pole. Obviously unprepared for the demands of the isolation and the climate, the young women’s needs clash with the intents of serious researchers, and humorous chaos results. What sorts of jobs can you imagine the females will find? How do you expect the scientists will react to them?

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure - (ISBN: 978-1559634632)

by Richard E. Byrd

The already-famous explorer Richard Byrd returns to the Antarctic to live for half a year alone in a shack at the South Pole. This recently reissued text is the diary he kept there while doing scientific investigation but also battling the elements and trying to maintain his sanity. As his health declines, he discovers a defective stovepipe leaking carbon monoxide, but it was almost too late to regain his former strength and optimism. This great adventure book contains the original illustrations and facsimile copies of some of Byrd’s actual diary pages. What personal strengths could you bring to doing a large project on your own, completely isolated from the rest of the world?

Antarctica’s Frozen Chosen - (ISBN: 978-0734405197)

by Hazel Edwards

Two young people struggle to maintain their friendship when one gets an opportunity to work with a scientist at the South Pole for a summer internship. Questions of loyalty, self-preservation, and professionalism strain the friendship as demands of the job and personal needs create conflict. Do you have a friend you would do anything for? Try to think of a situation in which you could not do what your friend asked.

How To Survive In Antarctica - (ISBN: 978-0823418909)

by Lucy Jane Bledsoe

Lucy Bledsoe’s survival tips come from her real journey and adventures on a fact-finding trip to the South Pole. While she visits research stations, takes helicopter rides, builds her own snow house, and develops maps and other historical tidbits, she is writing, writing, writing. The conversational and enthusiastic tone makes this information-packed book a delight. She answers the basic, gritty questions about survival, such as, “where do they put their garbage?” “How about sewage systems in the deep freeze?” What questions would you like to have answered?

Shackleton’s Stowaway - (ISBN: 978-0440419846)

by Victoria Mckernan

This fictionalized account of Shackleton’s historic voyage to the South Pole is told from the view of a determined 18-year old who volunteers to keep going with the rest of the crew after his presence is discovered at South Georgia Island, before the ship gets stuck in the ice. His astute observations of the other men aboard ship make the fated voyage very real. His description of his frostbitten toes is enough to deter all but the most adventurous from joining similar voyages, but lovers of horror stories will thrive on such “realism.”

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 - (ISBN: 978-0060554569)

by Andrea White

In a not-too-distant future when education means TV shows, the secretary of “Entertainment” creates a TV survival show for five scrappy class members. Where does the show take place but – unbelievably -- Antarctica! Talk about the possibilities of doing such a project in your school. How far from reality does it seem? Do you think this show would be popular amid the reality TV shows being broadcast today?

Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer - (ISBN: 978-0156031301)

by Lynne Cox

Sports fans and adventure lovers will enjoy this true-life tale of an accomplished long-distance swimmer who makes her way across the world and eventually challenges herself to the rigors of cold ocean swimming. After swimming across the Bering Strait from Alaska to the former Soviet Union, she finds herself heading to the South Pole for a dip in the frigid waters there. What personal traits of Cox’s can you emulate as you follow her from success to success?

The White Darkness - (ISBN: 978-0060890353)

by Geraldine McCaughrean

When an adventurous niece follows her half-crazy uncle to the southern tip of the world, she soon finds he is obsessed with finding a passageway through to the middle of the earth. Is this science fiction or madness? Find out as you enjoy their truly unearthly voyage. Compare her uncle’s obsessive behavior to that of Ahab in Moby Dick.

Life on the Ice: No One Goes to Antarctica Alone - (ISBN: 978-0792293453)

by Roff Smith

Onward: A Photobiography of African-American Polar Explorer Matthew Henson - (ISBN: 978-1426302688)

by Dolores Johnson

Surviving Antarctica - (ISBN: 978-1554072941)

by David N. Thomas

The South Pole Ponies - (ISBN: 978-1590482513)

by Theodore K. Mason

Activities for this Theme

Enjoy a book talk about Surviving Antarctica 2083.


Enjoy the PBS DVD Alone on the Ice which explores the life and death of South Pole explorer Richard Byrd.


Why didn't the ship return? Try to solve this online thriller set in a polar region parallel to Antarctica.


Find more information about the great variety of penguins in the world.


Enjoy some amazing photographs of an Antarctic passage.


Try an interactive National Geographic Map to see explorer’s locations, animal habitats, and specific landforms.


Find more information about the magnetic South Pole.