Sophie Scott Goes South tells the story of a 9 year old girl's journey to Antarctica on the Aurora Australis, an ice breaker captained by her father. Over the course of her month-long trip, Sophie keeps a diary and takes pictures of her adventures, from being stranded in a blizzard and enduring rough seas on the ship to seeing penguins, whales, icebergs, and even the southern lights after which their ship was named. The story is based on Lester's own journey to Antarctica as an Antarctic Arts Fellow, so it's no wonder that her descriptions are so wonderfully vivid and informative. The scientific, historical, and geographic facts scattered throughout the story are fascinating, and the combination of actual photos, diagrams, maps, and drawings are bound to appeal to curious readers. My 6 year old son loves this book (and is now ready to head off to Antarctica!), though it is a bit lengthy to hold the full attention of my 3 year old daughter (though she does love all of the pictures of the animals and reads alongside of us for most of the time.) I love this book, too, especially Lester's little details that paint a picture of what such a journey is really like. I'll include a few at the end of this post so you can see what I mean.
If your child loves learning about new places or is the adventurous, explorer type, this is one book you won't want to miss.
"Last night, the ship was rocking and rolling like crazy. Anything that's not tied down goes flying and I have to hold on al the time. Sometimes a wave bashes the ship so hard that it feels as though we've hit a rock. The dining room portholes go underwater every time the ship does a big roll. It's like we're eating inside a washing machine."
"She welcomed everybody and told us the station rules, then we helped put away supplies. There were huge boxes of toothpaste, toilet paper, coal and shampoo, and massive amounts of food, like 5400 eggs and 165 tubs of ice cream!"
"The ground was rough and rocky, with patches of snow. Thick ropes linked all the buildings and Sarah told me this is to stop you from getting lost in a blizzard."
"Before we got out, we hooked spiky chains under our boots because the ice was as slippery as glass."
"The ice has been so thick it's taken us three days to get this far. This morning at sunrise we saw some killer whales beside the ship. Their shiny black bodies stood out against the golden seas. Some were putting their heads right out of the water as we went past. This is called spy-hopping."