My Season With Penguins: An Antarctic Journal by Sophie Webb

Next year, one of my goals is to infuse more non-fiction reading into my curriculum. I did a fantastic unit this year on non-fiction and want to expand it. That means I need to infuse more non-fiction into my own reading life. I decided to read at least 3 non-fiction books during the 48 Hour Book Challenge this year to help me achieve my goal.

My Season with Penguins: An Antarctic Journal (Robert F. Sibert Honor Books) by Sophie Webb is the second informational book I read during the Challenge. A Sibert Honor book, I highly recommend it. Sophie Webb shares her experience spending two months studying Adelie Penguins in the Antarctic using a journal format and her own paintings as illustrations. The tone is conversational, which makes the information accessible to kids. And this isn’t a boring science book- it’s actually gross at times! Webb doesn’t shy away from the gory details of nature, which I know my students will appreciate. There are paintings of mummified penguins (adults and chicks) and a leopard seal killing and eating an Adelie. And I even learned that human waste is flown out of the Antarctic because of the cold, dryness, and lack of bacteria. Nothing decays in the Antarctic. I actually yelped, “Eww!” out loud while reading. I know my kids will revel in that information.

I also liked that while I learned a lot about Adelie Penguins, I also learned even more about scientific expeditions in Antarctica. Webb shares “insider information” on how camps are set up, the type of clothing and supplies available, and past exploration of the area. Information like this will engage readers who love animals and readers who love survival stories.

Highly recommended for classroom libraries and science teachers!