Keep reading to learn more about the Arctic with these captivating picture books!
If you have been in the literature-based sphere for any length of time, you have heard about Charlotte Mason and living books. I am by no means an expert nor have we used her entire method for homeschooling (looking at you narration!). However, I LOVE the overarching philosophy of her method by using amazing books to teach your kids.
Geography is one of those things you may think of as being hard to find living books for. I would contend that it’s one of the easiest because every book has a setting! A well-told story set in an amazing location has the ability to bring that place alive. Combine that with stunning illustrations, and you have a recipe made in homeschool heaven!
I like to keep my book lists short but thorough, so the following books highlight the Arctic’s natural beauty including the northern lights, the tundra, as well as how animals adapt and live in the frigid climate.
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Descriptions come from Amazon; some are edited for length
Picture Books about the Arctic
Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie S Miller
“Imagine a land where the sun rises at 1:58 a.m. in the summer and shines for less than four hours on a winter’s day. The animals in the wilderness near Fairbanks, Alaska, witness some of the world’s greatest temperature extremes and light variations ever year. At an average low of -16 degrees Fahrenheit, the winters may be unpleasantly frigid, but the light shows are always glorious!”
Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer
“In Aurora, storyteller and artist Mindy Dwyer shares a magical tale about a young girl whose dreams lead her to a great discovery, her own courage and the spectacular northern lights. Through her bright, luminous illustrations and text, this origin story about the glorious northern lights is magically portrayed to young readers and makes the perfect bedtime story.”
In the Sky at Nighttime by Laura Deal
“In the sky at nighttime, the northern lights dance, a mother’s song sways on the breeze, and a raven roosts atop a tall building, bathed in the light of the moon. This lyrical poem sends readers sailing through the Arctic night sky to see and hear the unique beauty of a Northern night.”
A Walk on the Tundra by Rebecca Hainnu
“During the short Arctic summers, the tundra, covered most of the year under snow and ice, becomes filled with colorful flowers, mosses, shrubs, and lichens. These hardy little plants transform the northern landscape, as they take advantage of the warmer weather and long hours of sunlight. Caribou, lemmings, snow buntings, and many other wildlife species depend on tundra plants for food and nutrition, but they are not the only ones. A Walk on the Tundra follows Inuujaq, a little girl who travels with her grandmother onto the tundra. There, Inuujaq learns that these tough little plants are much more important to Inuit than she originally believed.”
Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews
“Eva Padlyat lived in an Inuit village on Ungava Vat in northern Canada. In winter, when people wanted mussels to eat, they searched along the bottom of the seabed. Eva had often walked on the bottom, helping her mother, but today, for the very first time, she was to go down below the thick sea ice herself. Her mother went with her to the shore and out onto the ice. The time was just right. The outgoing tide had pulled the seawater away, leaving only the ice above and the rock-strewn seabed below. Eva lowered herself through a hole in the ice and, by candlelight, had soon gathered a pan full of mussels. There was still time to explore, she decided. But she stumbled and her candle went out. She was alone in the darkness, and the tide had turned. When, at the end of her adventure, she is safe with her mother again on top of the ice, she says, ‘that was my very last first time for walking alone on the bottom of the sea.'”
“When you live in the Arctic in winter, everything is a shade of white. A young girl looks around her home in the Arctic and sees only white, white, white. But one day her grandfather takes her on a journey through the tundra. And at the end of their cold walk across the ice, they find something special that brings color into their world.”
Survival at 40 Below by Debbie S. Miller
“As temperatures drop and the snow deepens, the animals that make the tundra home must ready themselves for survival. Follow the arctic ground squirrel as it begins the cycle of sleeping, supercooling, and warming that will occur at least a dozen times before spring arrives. See how the wood frog partially freezes itself in hibernation beneath layers of snow, or how the woolly bear caterpillars makes it through the winter months with a special antifreeze substance that prevents ice from forming in their bodies. Then when the temperatures finally rise and the snow begins to melt, these creatures emerge and the pulse of life returns to the arctic.”
Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol
“In this exquisite lullaby, the beauty and wonder of a northern winter night unfold, with images of a soft snowfall, the wild animals that appear in the garden, the twinkling stars, the gentle rhythm of the northern lights and the etchings of frost on the window pane. Jean E. Pendziwol’s lyrical poem reflects a deep appreciation of the magic of a northern winter night where, even as a child slumbers, the world outside does not rest but continues its own natural rhythms.”
In Arctic Waters by Laura Crawford
“This arctic adaptation of ‘This is the House that Jack Built’ follows polar bears, walruses, seals, narwhals and beluga whales as they chase each other around ‘the ice that floats in the Arctic waters.’ Not only is the rhythmic, cumulative prose good for early readers; it is a pure delight to read aloud.”
North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration by Nick Dowson
“At the top of our world is a huge wild place called the Arctic. In the winter, it is a cold and barren land, where few animals can survive. But when spring comes, it attracts animals from every corner of the earth. This lushly illustrated picture book celebrates the resilient wildlife and barren, beautiful landscapes of the Arctic Circle, tracing the awe-inspiring spring migration of millions of creatures to the Arctic and reminding the reader of the hardships and harmony of life in the wild.”
I love how each of these books brings the magic of the Arctic alive. I hope you found this list useful and if you are looking for additional book lists, check out the links below!
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