phd mama

from diapers to deconstruction

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From Pole to Pole


My elder girl is always cold; she’s the one who even wears her slippers and her bathrobe to bed, but she’s also the one in our family who adores all things winter. That means even at the height of summer, she wants to play polar bears. I’ve already documented her love of whales (especially belugas), but we recently expanded to a reading/watching list about the polar region more generally. We looked at poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, focusing on the geography and science of the poles as well as the animals and people. The films and stories brought to life a dramatic snowscape that we’re unlikely ever to see in person, so this year, when my daughter plays “Polar Bear Mountain” on the snow piles in the yard, she’ll have even more knowledge and inspiration.

  1. Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra, Jose Aruego, and Ariane Dewey
  2. Arctic A-Z by Wayne Lynch
  3. Arctic Peoples by Robin Doak
  4. Watch Arctic Tale
  5. Arctic Tale: A Companion to the Major Motion Picture by Rebecca Baines
  6. Atuk by Mischa Damjan and Józef Wilkón
  7. Caribou Crossing: Animals of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by Andrea Helman and Art Wolfe
  8. Watch The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That: Told from the Cold
  9. Endangered Animals of Antarctica and the Arctic by Marie Allgor
  10. Here is the Arctic Winter by Madeleine Dunphy and Alan James Robinson
  11. How Snowshoe Hare Rescued the Sun: A Tale from the Arctic by Emery and Durga Bernhard
  12. Ice Is Nice! All About the North and South Poles by Bonnie Worth, Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu
  13. Kumak’s Fish: A Tall Tale from the Far North by Michael Bania
  14. Over in the Arctic Where the Cold Winds Blow by Marianna Berkes and Jill Dubin
  15. Polar Bear, Arctic Hare: Poems of the Frozen North by Eileen Spinelli and Eugenie Fernandes
  16. A Polar Bear Journey by Debbie Miller and Jon Van Zyle
  17. The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale by Lydia Dabcovich
  18. Watch Snow Babies
  19. Tundra Discoveries by Ginger Wadsworth and John Carrozza

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A (Wolf)Pack of Stories


Recently, my younger child requested stories “where wolves wear clothes.” It’s one of the things I love about our wolf unit study—the way that fairy tales and folk tales intermingle with scientific accounts about these amazing creatures who, sometimes, wear clothes. We saw a wolf exhibit on a trip to the zoo, and both of my children loved climbing and exploring the nearby wolf den play area; wolves have always fascinated my girls, and we stand in a long tradition of awe for these creatures too often misunderstood and mistreated. In this list, the fairy tales, folk tales, and legends show different cultural perspectives on wolves, and the scientific reads illustrate the wolves’ own lives and habitats. Together, they form a fuller picture of a pack of animals who occupies our land, our history, and our imaginations.

  1. Beware of the Storybook Wolves by Lauren Child
  2. Big Wolf and Little Wolf by Nadine Brun-Cosme and Olivier Talec
  3. Dream Wolf by Paul Goble
  4. The Great Fairy Tale Disaster by David Conway and Melanie Williamson
  5. Little Red Riding Hood by Paul Galdone
  6. Nutik, the Wolf Pup by Jean Craighead George and Ted Rand
  7. Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s Peter and the Wolf
  8. Tell the Truth, B. B. Wolf by Judy Sierra and Otto Siebold
  9. There’s a Wolf at the Door: Five Classic Tales by Zoë B. Alley and R.W. Alley
  10. The Three Little Pigs by Paul Galdone
  11. We Are Wolves by Molly Grooms and Lucia Guarnotta
  12. Wild, Wild Wolves by Joyce Milton and Larry Schwinger
  13. Wolf and the Seven Little Kids by Ann Blades
  14. Wolf Tales: Native American Children’s Stories edited by Mary Powell
  15. The Wolves Are Back by Jean Craighead George and Wendell Minor
  16. The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman
  17. Wolves by Gail Gibbons
  18. Wolves by Emily Gravett
  19. Wolves by Laura Marsh
  20. Wolves by Seymour Simon

* For more fairy tale revision wolf stories, see my Reading Empathy post.

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