The best nonfiction books about the polar regions for children

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a geographer and the author of more than 170 (mostly nonfiction) books for kids. I began my career at the National Geographic Society and have worked on a variety of projects for them over the last three decades. I also taught middle-school geography for years. In addition to my featured book, I have written numerous magazine articles on topics related to polar regions—from Siberia’s Eveny people to climate change in the Arctic. I am the author of Living in the Arctic and several books on countries in the polar regions. I was recently interviewed by PBS Books for my book on Benjamin Franklin’s scientific work.


I wrote...

Penguins & Polar Bears: A Pretty Cool Introduction to the Arctic and Antarctic

By Alicia Klepeis, Grace Helmer (illustrator), Gestalten (editor)

Book cover of Penguins & Polar Bears: A Pretty Cool Introduction to the Arctic and Antarctic

What is my book about?

Penguins and polar bears never get to meet—except maybe at the zoo! But what else is there to know about the Arctic and Antarctica, two of our planet’s most mysterious, fascinating, and vulnerable regions?

Penguins and Polar Bears takes the reader on an adventure to the ends of the world, exploring the land, as well as the the unique and resilient animals and plants to be found at the North and South Poles. You’ll dive into the chilly oceans, skim over the brightest ice sheets, and meet the incredible people who live and work in these regions. So pack your warmest clothes and get ready for a very cool journey!
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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Ice! Poems About Polar Life

Alicia Klepeis Why did I love this book?

“Fish and penguins, squids and seals,

All find krill make splendid meals.”

So begins Douglas Florian’s poem about krill. Writing nonfiction poetry is no small feat and this book is a masterpiece of that artform. Each two-page spread focuses on an area or a creature related to the polar regions and features a poem, illustration, and short chunk of expository writing to give the reader more information on the subject. It covers subjects including ptarmigans, narwhals, musk ox, and many more. This book is funny, clever, and a joy to read aloud. Readers will love this one!

By Douglas Florian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ice! Poems About Polar Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Funny poems paired with intriguing facts introduce young readers to the fascinating creatures that live in Earth's polar regions.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year!

The remote North and South Poles-- which poet Douglas Florian calls our "Earth refrigerator"-- are home to a wide variety of unusual, rarely-seen creatures including caribou, penguins, ptarmigans, narwhals, and many more! Young readers will love learning about these polar denizens and the ways they've adapted to their cold, windy, frozen environments.

Whimsical, colorful art and humorous poems introduce more than a dozen polar animals, and touch on the unique characteristics of the…


Book cover of Arctic & Antarctic

Alicia Klepeis Why did I love this book?

I have always found the Eyewitness series of books to be very appealing and this one is no exception. Because every two-page spread can stand alone, readers can read the book from cover to cover or just dive into whatever sections or topics are most appealing to them. I find myself captivated by the high-quality photographs throughout, whether of colorful sea stars living in the cold waters around Antarctica or a fuzzy moose calf living in the Arctic. As a geographer, I find this book to stand out because it covers animals and plants of the polar regions, as well as what life in these harsh regions is like for both native peoples of the Arctic and explorers in both polar zones.

By Barbara Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Arctic & Antarctic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Enter the faraway world of the Earth's frozen poles and learn about amazing human and animal life that thrives at subzero temperatures--from a 4,000-year-old Eskimo tribe to king penguins, who dive deep into frigid seas filled with icebergs the size of Massachusetts.


Book cover of Penguins and Antarctica

Alicia Klepeis Why did I love this book?

As a fan of the Magic Tree House series, I love the way that this nonfiction book weaves great information with illustrations and photographs in a fun-to-read format. This title will be a hit with animal lovers, whether they are curious about the daily lives of penguins in Antarctica or why krill are so important to the food web here. Adventure seekers will revel in the daring exploits of explorers from the past. They’ll also learn about what it’s like to visit Antarctica today. The additional resources in the back of the book looked terrific and made me want to explore more of this frozen continent.

By Mary Pope Osborne, Natalie Pope Boyce, Sal Murdocca (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Penguins and Antarctica as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

The #1 bestselling chapter book series of all time celebrates 25 years with new covers and a new, easy-to-use numbering system! Getting the facts behind the fiction has never looked better. Track the facts with Jack and Annie!!
 
When Jack and Annie got back from their adventure in Magic Tree House Merlin Mission #12: Eve of the Emperor Penguin, they had lots of questions. What do penguins eat? Why do they huddle together in groups? Who won the race to the South Pole? What happens at a research station in Antarctica? Find out the answers to these questions and more…


Book cover of Polar: A Photicular Book

Alicia Klepeis Why did I love this book?

When I first saw this book, I was intrigued by the Photicular movies. Getting a chance to watch the colorful lights of the auroras move was an exciting way to bring a scientific topic to life. As I made my way through the book, it was wonderful to get a chance to both read about then watch “movies” of all of the topics that were covered—from sled dogs on the move to walruses lumbering over the ice. Kaufmann’s writing style makes you feel like you are learning from a wise friend who’s taking you on an exciting journey to the polar regions. Young readers will enjoy her weaving in mentions of Harry Potter when talking about snowy owls or Santa’s sleigh when discussing reindeer. 

By Dan Kainen, Carol Kaufmann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Polar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seeing is believing: Photicular technology is a phenomenon. Three years - two titles, Safari and Ocean - and 723,000 copies in print. Through its innovative lenticular process, sliding lenses, and four-colour video imagery, readers discovered the magic of animals bounding and leaping, and then came face to face with creatures of the sea as they undulate and sway. Now Dan Kainen, the creator of the Photicular technology, takes us even further into places unknown by exploring the ends of the earth, the Arctic and Antarctic. Polar captures a land of extremes - remote, mysterious, and sparsely populated by creatures found…


Book cover of The Poles: Explore the natural world of both the Antarctic and Arctic Polar Regions

Alicia Klepeis Why did I love this book?

As soon as I picked up this book, I was blown away by its spectacular illustrations. There are two special foldouts where the book expands to have four-page wide illustrations of the Antarctic and Arctic regions. Most kids’ books that cover the Antarctic don’t get into as much detail about the different environments there—from pack ice to the islands around the continent. But this book does a beautiful job of showing that the Antarctic is more than just ice and snow and that the wildlife is diverse and fascinating. I also loved the section on the Arctic’s polar desert with its beautiful dwarf lupin and moss balls. Readers might be surprised to discover the butterflies and bearberries of the tundra regions as well. 

By Bernard Stonehouse, Richard Orr (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Poles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Children will be fascinated by the wealth of animal and plant life in Nature Unfolds The Poles, a richly illustrated new book that takes readers on a journey from the Antarctic and its islands to the polar desert and tundra of the Arctic. Amazing information and two spectacular fold-out illustrations help children identify the wildlife and plants that live: - on the Antarctic continent - around the pack ice - on and around the Antarctic and oceanic islands - in the Arctic polar desert - in the tundra - on and around the coastlands - in the Arctic oceans and…


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Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

Book cover of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

Jim Brown Author Of Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my entire professional life quietly patrolling the frontiers of understanding human consciousness. I was an early adopter in the burgeoning field of biofeedback, then neurofeedback and neuroscience, plus theory and practices of humanistic and transpersonal psychology, plus steeping myself in systems theory as a context for all these other fields of focus. I hold a MS in psychology from San Francisco State University and a PhD from Saybrook Institute. I live in Mount Shasta CA with Molly, my life partner for over 60 years. We have two sons and two grandchildren.

Jim's book list on brain, mind, and consciousness

What is my book about?

In this thoroughly researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development.

He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind.

Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through lifelong brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.

Mindleap: A Fresh View of Education Empowered by Neuroscience and Systems Thinking

By Jim Brown,

What is this book about?

In this thoroughly-researched and exquisitely crafted treatise, Jim Brown synthesizes the newest understandings in neuroscience, developmental psychology, and dynamical systems theory for educators and others committed to nurturing human development. He explains complex concepts in down-to-earth terms, suggesting how these understandings can transform education to truly engender optimal learning and intelligence. He explores the nature of consciousness, intelligence, and mind. Brown then offers a model of optimal human learning through life-long brain development within a supportive culture--drawing on the work of Piaget, Erickson, Maslow, Kohlberg, and Steiner--and how that work is being vastly expanded by neuroscience and dynamical systems thinking.


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