Title: Marooned in the Arctic
Author: Peggy Caravantes
Major Themes: Alaska, Arctic, Survival, Exploration
Synopsis: When a group of men and one woman spend a year on a remote island in the Arctic Ocean, the woman, Ada Blackjack, must learn how to survive in such a hostile environment.
I’ve been intrigued for awhile by the story of Ada Blackjack, so when I had the chance to read an advance copy of Marooned in the Arctic I jumped at it. This story turned out to be quite interesting, although very sad.
Viljhalmur Steffanson, an Arctic explorer, got the idea that white men could not only survive, but thrive, in the high Arctic if they lived like the Eskimo. To test his theory, he recruited four men to spend a year on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean. They were to live off the land, although he did supply them with about six month’s worth of food. He knew they would need clothing, so hired Ada Blackjack to go along to sew clothing for them from skins.
When the men arrived on Wrangel Island and claimed it for Britain, they found so many polar bears that they didn’t see any need to preserve meat for winter. This foolish decision led to near starvation by spring, and when three of the men left on foot to try to reach civilization, Ada was left alone with the fourth man, who was suffering from scurvy. Although she knew how to sew clothing from skins, she did not know how to trap or hunt. Left alone, she had to learn survival skills quickly—or die.
Marooned in the Arctic is an amazing story of blunders, foolishness, and resilience. Any young person who enjoys stories of survival in the wilderness, or exploration, will enjoy this story.
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 10 – 12, 12 – 15