Black Whiteness

Bibliographic Information: Burleigh, Robert, and Walter Krudop. Black Whiteness: Admiral Byrd Alone in the Antarctic. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1998. Print.

Brief Annotation: This is an amazing biography of explorer Admiral Richard Byrd and his time alone in a meteorological station in Antarctica in 1934.

Genre: Biography

Grade Level: 3-5

Readers who will like this: Children who like non-fiction; children interested in wilderness survival or exploration stories; children interested in science or Antarctica.

Rating/ Response: 5 – A very well-written, detailed account of what it was like for Byrd to be living and research in Antarctica alone during the winter. The writing is more like prose than formal non-fiction; the imagery is strong. Reading this made me want to read his autobiography!

One question you would ask before a read aloud: What do you imagine it is like to be a scientist in Antarctica? (maybe students will have prior knowledge of this depending on what you’re studying) Now go back 80 years and imagine how being a scientist in Antarctica would be different.

Reading strategy: Important Ideas

Rationale for strategy: The information in this book is non-fiction, but since it is written like prose, it’s easy to get lost in the details and forget the important ideas. You can read this book with your class to practice picking out the important ideas – the who/what/where/when/why – in historical fiction, biographies, nonfiction, etc.

Posted by: Caitlin Miller


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