What’s your favorite way to keep cool during a long hot summer? Is it curling up with a book in an air-conditioned library, making a pitcher of iced tea or taking a nap under a shady tree? Well, here’s another idea – what about an ICY COLD book, as in, a story that takes you to chilly climes? Maybe by the time you’re done, you’ll need a blanket, or at least a cup of cocoa! (Please add your favorite COOL reads in the comments below.)
THE LONG WINTER by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Ingalls’ family struggle to survive seven months of brutal winter is recounted here in agonizing detail. Here, the pioneer spirit comes particularly to life as the family must make the best of their rapidly dwindling supplies to eke out light, heat and food. At times, tempers flare (Little House style, of course – Laura and Mary argue testily over what kind of stuffing would be best for a non-existent turkey), but the Ingalls family endures with both body and spirit intact.
MY NAME IS NOT EASY by Debby Dahl Edwardson
When I go off to Sacred Heart School, they’re gonna call me Luke because my Iňupiac name is too hard. Nobody has to tell me this. I already know. I already know because when teachers try to say our real names, the sounds always get caught in their throats, sometimes, like crackers. Luke, an Iňupiac boy living near the Arctic Circle in the 1960s, must leave his family to attend the Sacred Heart School. There, his own language and customs are forbidden, and Luke must navigate the complex tension between the various children at the school. A National Book Award finalist.
PEAK by Roland Smith
With the help of his famous father, “Peak” Marcello avoids juvie after scaling the tall buildings of New York, and instead finds himself getting ready to summit Mount Everest. However, Peak finds that his father’s intentions may be less than completely noble, and must make some hard decisions of his own. The author brings the reality of summiting Mount Everest to life with detailed accounts of the multiple base camps and approaches. Young readers may be interested to know that the record for youngest climber was recently broken in May by a 13-year-old Indian girl, a month after 16 sherpa guides were killed in a deadly avalanche.
SUGAR AND ICE by Kate Messner
If you’re looking for a cooler climate in a more familiar setting, then this book, set in the world of competitive figure skating, may be for you. Seventh-grader Claire Boucher divides her time between her family’s maple tree farm and the local ice skating rink, when her life is upended by a surprise offer to train with an elite Russian coach at Lake Placid. In this new world, Claire must cope with mean girl, her own fears and the double toe loop.
SHACKLETON’S JOURNEY by William Grill – Ernest Shackleton’s attempts to conduct the first land crossing of Antarctica is a story of both disaster and heartbreak as well as resourcefulness and courage, and this story is lovingly rendered in colored pencil in William Grill’s new book. Readers are rewarded with detailed accounts of the ice-locked ship Endurance, crew members, each dog (warning: while all humans safely returned, the dogs were not so fortunate), the unusual supplies on each ship and maps. Slightly older readers may want to also check out Nick Bertozzi’s graphic novel, SHACKLETON: ANTARCTIC ODYSSEY.