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Read Around the World:
Children’s Books Set in the Arctic and Antarctica

by Lindsay Barrett

Antarctica books

I’ve always been fascinated with “the ends of the earth.” Plus, I think penguins are pretty cute. However, when I mentioned Antarctica has a top spot on my bucket list of travel destinations, my spouse and children promptly told me I’d have to go alone. Talk about cold! Until I convince them that a polar expedition would be incredible, I’ll have to visit vicariously through books. If you’re looking to explore the icy far reaches of the planet through literature, check out this list of books set in the Arctic and Antarctica for all ages.

  • Picture Books

  • Ten Animals in Antarctica

    by Moira Court

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    Antarctica is unique, and so are its animal inhabitants. From “lumbersome, cumbersome southern elephant seals” to “inky, slinky Antarctic squid,” these featured creatures are fun to read about and count. The collage illustrations bring each species to life in a creative way. Also, the back matter has more information for curious readers.

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  • Penguins Don't Wear Sweaters!

    by Marikka Tamura, illustrated by Daniel Rieley

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    Penguins are busy “doing the penguin thing” when an oil spill stops them. Will the cute sweaters that people send help them get clean and stay warm? Actually, no! Inspired by actual events, this story teaches kids to look deeper and ask questions when thinking about how to solve big problems.

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  • Arctic Aesop's Fables

    by Susi Gregg Fowler, illustrated by Jim Fowler

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    This collection re-imagines traditional fables with Arctic settings and animals. The characterizations of the Wolf, Arctic Fox, Polar Bear, and many other creatures are enjoyable, whether or not children are familiar with the original versions. Kids might even want to try out writing their own adapted fables after reading this book.

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  • Polar Bear Babies

    by Susan Ring, illustrated by Lisa McCue

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    In this repetitive early reader title, a pair of oh-so-cute polar bear cubs must learn about fishing, swimming, and walking on ice. One cub is always sleeping — until they have to race home to their den to stay safe. New readers will be excited to read about a high-interest topic.

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  • The Three Snow Bears

    by Jan Brett

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    Kids love this new twist on the familiar tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears set in the icy Arctic. When three polar bears leave their igloo, little Aloo-ki sneaks in to taste their soup, try out their cozy boots, and snuggle up in their fur-covered beds. Jan Brett traveled to the Arctic region to research Inuit people and their culture while writing this book; it’s an excellent opportunity to talk with children about the rich cultural history of the Arctic. It could be a springboard for finding out about present-day life there.

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