Picture Antarctica: intensely cold, windy, and dry with ice as far as the eye can see. But if you look a little closer, you’ll find a bustling ecosystem with dense seaweed forests, upside-down fields of algae, and fascinating creatures that have evolved over millions of years to survive in this extreme environment. But what does this continent at the bottom of the world have to do with us, and how do our actions affect the amazing organisms that call this frozen habitat their home?
In conditions too harsh even for human survival, these resilient creatures have a few tricks to withstand freezing temperatures. Icefish produce a natural antifreeze so their blood doesn’t freeze, and their lack of scales allows them to absorb oxygen straight through their skin! And did you know that penguins spread an oil over their dense feathers to keep them waterproof? From the smallest microorganism and shrimplike krill to the magnificent blue whale, every species plays a special role in the food chain to keep the ecosystem in balance. But scientists have noticed worrisome changes over the past decades. Will the icefish, whose bodies are made especially for cold temperatures, be able to survive in a warmer climate? And where will penguins go when their icy breeding grounds have melted?
Award-winning nature writer Mary Batten and New York Times bestselling illustrator Thomas Gonzalez pose these important questions as they take readers on a guided tour of Antarctica. Gonzalez’ stunning illustrations will incite wonder and awe at the beauty of this mysterious continent, and Batten’s urgent message of conservation is an ideal introduction to climate change for young readers and budding scientists. Backmatter includes a map of Antarctica and its surrounding seas, a glossary, ten interesting facts about the discovery and exploration of the continent, and an inspiring author’s note to inspire the next generation of activists.
Take a peek inside this important new nonfiction picture book below, and see more in this excerpt.
Author Mary Batten shares her passion for Antarctica and inspiration for the book in this author Q&A.
Don’t forget to download the comprehensive teacher’s guide for in-depth classroom instruction, perfect for introducing students to climate change.
“Informative…fascinating… The text makes a compelling case for understanding and caring about Antarctica. Gonzalez’s illustrations provide an intriguing depiction of the setting…. A superb choice for students who are studying animal adaptation and how climate change impacts Antarctica. The well-researched text and captivating illustrations work well to convey the importance of conservation.” —School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“Descriptions are clear, concise, and interesting… [Batten’s] text is relatively substantial for a picture book, and it’s set against a backdrop of gorgeous Antarctic scenes created by Gonzalez.…the scenery is magnificent…. Sobering news in a handsome package.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Thomas Gonzalez’s watercolor illustrations are lively and precise, helping to make this an enchanting, educational introduction to Antarctica’s biodiversity.” —Foreword Reviews
Find Life in a Frozen World this November at your local library, indie bookstore, or Barnes & Noble. And don’t forget to check out the rest of our brand-new Fall 2020 titles as well as our picture books and middle grade titles coming to Peachtree this season in paperback!