My Antarctica: True Adventures in the Land of Mummified Seals, Space Robots, and So Much More

Candlewick. Mar. 2024. 96p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536223323.
Gr 2-5–Antarctica conjures up pictures of extreme environments and desolate landscapes. For Neri, winner of a Coretta Scott King Honor for Yummy, traveling to Antarctica fulfilled a childhood dream of exploring a far-off land vastly different from his Los Angeles upbringing. As a child, he was always interested in science and the natural world, but struggled with those subjects in school. He did not think he could ever explore a purely scientific place like Antarctica. However, his successful career as a filmmaker and YA author allowed him to apply for and receive a grant from the National Science Foundation. Neri joins the ranks of famous artists and authors who have documented Antarctic life (human and natural) for the non-scientific world. His first thoughts upon landing were that he was on a different planet, a very white planet. He discovers a harsh environment but welcoming people. The accessible and conversational tone, and beautifully crisp photos, tell the story of his remarkable expedition. Wilkin’s cartoon line drawings overlay the photos and bring depth and humor to the pictures. Sprinkled throughout are tidbits about Antarctica and the lives of the 5,000 people who call it their temporary home. How old is that seal mummy? How does everyone eat? How do people travel when it is so cold? And what happens to everyone’s poop? Neri’s quasi-journal is interesting, though perhaps not quite organized or detailed enough for reports.
VERDICT A compelling but additional purchase, unless inspirational material is needed about fulfilling childhood dreams.

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