TITLE: Sophie Scott Goes South
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Alison Lester
PUBLICATION INFO: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 6 to 9
GENRE: picture book (fiction)
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“Woohoo! I’m going to Antarctica! That’s right, me, Sophie Scott.”
From the publisher: “Nine-year-old Sophie is going on a month-long voyage to Antarctica, with her dad, the captain of an icebreaker. Sailing the frozen seas round-trip from Australia to Mawson Station in the South Pole, Sophie recounts the adventure of a lifetime in her own words, illustrations, and color photographs. She’ll show us icebergs, penguins, seals, and whales! It’s a dangerous journey, but Sophie is well prepared for the thrills and chills that await her on top of the world.
This friendly, informative, and beautifully presented picture book is based on the author’s own experiences and shows the wonder of Antarctica through a child’s eyes.”
THEMES/TOPICS: nature, geography
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I love this book because of its connection to Alison Lester’s own trip to Antarctica in 2005 as an Antarctic Arts fellow. During her six-week journey, she sent emails and letters to schools and family with details of her trip. Many students wrote back, sending their pictures of Antarctica and the places and animals Lester described. The children’s pictures appear in the book as part of Sophie’s diary.
- This National Geographic site is one of the best there is for learning about Antarctica. Learn about animal ranges, physical geography and more.
- KIDSDISCOVER has a free Antarctica lesson plan.
- Check out these cool photos from the Smithsonian.
You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!
27 thoughts on “PPBF: Sophie Scott Goes South”
My 10 yr old is currently working on an assignment about Ernest Shackleton, and we have checked out loads of books about Antarctic explorers. This one was particularly fun!
I just think it’s so cool that there is an “Antarctic Arts Fellow.” Imagine!
After all these days off subzero windchills in New England, I’m less than tempted to apply for that fellowship Kirsten!
My kids love that kind of thing. Great topic to match this arctic weather!
And I wasn’t even thinking “polar vortex” when I picked it. 🙂
What a “cool” book… and perfect reading for this winter, given the icebreakers in Antarctica. Def. need to look this one up.
That’s a good point, Sue. Kids could definitely use news articles to learn more about the area.
This book sounds like a real gem! I love the interaction of Allison with students interested in the Antartic. A great book to explore.
It’s a very interesting way to tell the story versus telling it from her own perspective.
MUST see this – love that bright colorful cover! Thanks, Kirsten!
The art definitely has a child-like quality (and some of it is by children), in keeping with a 9-year-old’s diary.
I already have a hold on it. Okay, I’ll admit, my husband does – I am an abuser of all the family cards!
I need to get my boys cards. I pushed up against the 50-book limit last week and had to put books back!
We don’t have a limit on books, on holds and mags though.
I’m fascinated that the author chose a child protag instead of herself (making it fiction instead of NF). I’d rather read about the Antarctic than go there. We went to FInland once and that was plenty cold for me!
I know, my husband keeps threatening to take his dad to Antarctica. I am content to stay home. My toes freeze when it’s 50 degrees.
Oh. My. I. Must. Read. This. My dad went to Antarctica on an icebreaker in 1969. He was in the Coast Guard on the USCGC Burton Island. He was the chief engineer keeping the diesel engines running. They were taking scientific and meteorological equipment to the station at McMurdo Sound on the Ross Ice Shelf. I was 13 at the time he left for the 7 month trip. The National Geographic magazine wrote about the trip and published pictures of their ship and voyage. I can’t wait to find this.
Laura, I think you have the makings of a story here. How cool that your Dad’s trip was in Nat Geo!
I have been thinking along those lines….trying to get an p.o.v. that would be good for a picture book – don’t know if it should be his (missing his family) or mine as the lonesome adolescent.
Sounds fun; I like the enthusiasm of that 1st line.
The MC, Sophie, has a great personality. It’s a fun read. My 7-year-old is taking it in the car with us everywhere.
Wow! Very cool that Alison actually went, and that the letters and pictures she got made their way into the book!
Apparently there was also an exhibition of the kids’ artwork which raised money for a hospital. Some proceeds from the book will benefit the hospital too.
An excellent book for kids. Love the review. Amazing Laura that your Dad went there. Here in Auckland we have streets all named after the NZ and Australian explorers who have been and passed away. Hubby and I at one time some years ago were going to go on a trip they have which leaves from Christchurch. But we changed our minds for some reason…. (which I can’t remember). Thank you Kirsten for such a great pick. Must look for this.
Alison is an Australian, so I thought it was fun to learn about the Australian presence in Antarctica. I didn’t realize so many countries had their own stations. I thought there was just one — McMurdo.
This sounds so great!! I live in a house with bookshelves full of books about Antarctic exploration! But not a single picture book!! I will have to find this one! Thanks for sharing!
Great review! I love the cover and the opening! 😀