Way down at the bottom of the world is the Antarctic a land covered in ice and snow. With 24 hours of sun or night, it's mysterious and different and a great way to capture children's interest. Today we're sharing our favourite books about Antarctica that you and they can read together as we read around the world. So here we go the best books for kids about Antarctica.
Best Books for Kids About Antarctica
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I would love to explore the world in person with my kids, but that's just not possible at the moment, instead we go to the next best thing. Growing up I was very fortunate that my geography teacher was a former scientist that worked in Antarctica, so our geography lessons about the continent were filled with first person accounts, real pictures and fantastic tales of what it was like.
Unfortunately, I'm not in touch with him and we have to go to the next best things, books and documentaries.
One of our favourite ways to learn is through books. We love to read around the topics and themes that interest us and discover more. This selection of books about Antarctica has been split into different age groups but as I've found my kids love picking up picture books as well as the longer books too so don't feel that you have to limit yourself to books for the age of your kids.
Each of the images of the books and blue underlined links goes to Amazon to make it easy for you to purchase and at the bottom you will find a link to download our Antarctica Books for Kids reading list that you can use to head to the library, second hand book store or collect over time.
Books about the Antarctic for Toddlers & preschoolers
Tom Crean's Rabbit by Meredith Hooper is about the extraordinary rabbit that went on historic last voyage to the south pole. It's a really sweet true tale of the animals and humans that inhabited Terra Nova as it made it's trip to Antarctica.
If you ever take a trip and hear the words "Are we there yet?" Then this book is for you and preschooler to read. A trip to the bottom of the world with mouse by Frank Viva takes the long journey to the Antarctic introducing us to the ocean voyage and the creatures, ice and snow that live there with mouse who spends the whole time working out whether he's there yet.
Antarctica by Helen Cowcher introduces us to the beautiful wildlife that call the Antarctic their home from penguins to seals. But what we loved most is that it also touches on how humans have an impact on this fragile environment.
If you are looking for a series of books that focus on different environments in the world for preschoolers and early primary then we recommend the One Day on Our Blue Planet Series by Ella Bailey which follows baby animals for a day in their environment. One Day on Our Blue Planet: In the Antarctic follows a baby penguin from dawn to dusk introducing a little more about what these iconic creatures of the continent get up to.
A fantastic non-fiction book to accompany these stories is Antarctica (Rookie Read-About Geography: Continents) by Rebecca Hirsch. As well as looking at the wildlife this book also explores some of the history and geography of the continent and ideal for the youngest readers.
More Antarctic Books for Preschoolers and Toddlers
Here's a few others that we have read and would recommend too:
- The Emperor's Egg by Martin Jenkins
- Little Penguin the Emperor of the Antarctic by Jonathan London
- Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
- Captain's Log Snowbound by Erin Dionne
- Antarctic Antics: A book of penguin poems by Judy Sierra
Antarctic Books for Primary
The preschool and toddler books are great but in lower primary and reception (early elementary and kindergarten) some children will start to excel at reading so this next selection of books is aimed at 5 - 8 year olds.
Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester follows the trip of a lifetime for 9 year old Sophie Scott as she journeys to the Antarctic on a ship. Inspired by the trip that Alison Lester took herself the book is a mix of illustrations and photographs and gives a really great exploration of how the trip is. We loved this book and the kids still pick it up today.
Ideal for beginner readers Here is Antarctica by Madeleine Dunphy is full of beautiful illustrations and explores the continent through the landscapes and wildlife found there.
In lower primary it's important to read a variety of different texts and poetry is one form that we read regularly. When the Sun Shines on Antarctica and other poems from the frozen continent by Irene Latham has 15 poems to read aloud that share the beauty of the bottom of the world.
Nothing beats reading about a place than from someone that has been there. Antarctic Journal by Meridith Hooper shows in detail a summer spent in Antarctica at Palmer Station on Anvers Island. Aimed towards the top end of lower primary and easily accessible for upper primary this starts to introduce food chains and webs as well as the variety of life in the region. Meridith Hooper is an artist and zoologist and her skills and knowledge come alive on the pages.
More Antarctic Books for Primary & Elementary Pupils
- Explore Antarctica (Pogo A Look at Continents) by Veronica B Wilkins
- Antarctica (A True Book: The Seven Continents) by Karen Kellaher
- The Mystery in Icy Antarctica by Carole Marsh
- Where is Antarctica by Sarah Fabiny
Books about The Antarctic Explorers
When reading about Antarctica we love to learn about the people that discovered, mapped and explored the continent. The race to the south pole and even more modern expeditions like that of
The DK Adventures series has a wonderful non-fiction book about the Antarctic Expeditions including the race to the pole between Scott and Amundsen. It also includes details about the scientists and explorers that now call the continent home. (8 - 12 years old)
Although also featuring the north pole Byrd and Igloo by Samantha Seiple tells the tale of the aviator Byrd and his dog who flew to both the north and the south poles. Full of original pictures, quotes from letters and more it gives a real picture of what life of an polar explorer is like. (8 - 12 years old)
Where I can I try and include books that feature women scientists and explorers. Ann and Liv Cross Antarctica by Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen is a record of their trip across the continent especially written for children. From the planning to the actual trip this is wonderful for all children to read and feel like they are experiencing the trip themselves. (7 up)
There are plenty of books about Shackleton's famous voyage to Antarctica but our favourite one is Shackleton's Journey by William Grill a beautiful pencil illustrated book that tells that tale from planning through to arrival home. (7 - 11 years)
More Books to Read about Explorer and Adventuring in Antarctica
- The Endurance: Shackleton's Perilous Expedition in Antarctica by Meredith Hooper (7 - 10 years)
- Ernest Shackleton (Little People Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (6 - 9 years old)
- Survival Tales: Endurance in Antarctica by Katrina Charmin (8 - 12 years old)
- Shipwreck at the bottom of the world: The extraordinary story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong (8 - 12 years old)
- Ice Wreck by Lucille Recht Penner (6 - 9 years old)
- Lost in the Antarctic: The Doomed Voyage of the Endurance by Tod Olson (8 - 12 years)