Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2014 – Shortlisted

Ice, Wind, Rock: Douglas Mawson in the Antarctic / Peter Gouldthorpe

‘By far the best account of Mawson available for the younger reader’ – Peter FitzSimons, author of Mawson.

I agree with Mr FitzSimons. This is an extremely interesting read and the illustrations are superb.

I read this over a few nights with my children (10&11) and it was hard to put down, both kept asking me to read one more page. We thoroughly enjoyed it, each page turned into a (fun) geography / history lesson, at the end of each reading session the kids even pulled out their world globe and searched for locations that Mawson and his team of explorers travelled. It was a pleasure watching them pouring through each page soaking up information and in turn asking lots of questions. There was even a fight over the globe at one stage, yes it was  hilarious also a pleasure witnessing a fight over a globe (possibly the nerdiest fight of all time) they both really wanted to find Macquarie Island first. How can a book that incites geography induced rage not be a good thing?

Here are some of the  many interesting and gruesome facts in this book:

  • Did you know that Mawson and his exploration team had to eat seals and penguins to survive?!
  • Mawson travelled 160 kilometres on foot – with the skin of his soles seperated completely from the flesh!
  • After his first expedition to the South Pole with English explorer Ernest Shackleton, Mawson vowed never to return to the Antarctic again.
  • Mawson did return again and almost lost his life, on his second expedition he was the only survivor out of his party of three.
  • Mawson fell down a crevasse twice during his expeditions and mangaged to survive, the second time he had to pull himself out!

How Mawson survived such perilous situations and near death experiences and kept on going is hard to fathom. Douglas Mawson really is a true Australian hero.

So if you are after a book that will captivate young readers by combining historical facts with thrill, adventure and the occasional bit of gore this is the one.
I recommend this book for primary school aged children (6-12).

Ice, Wind, Rock has been shortlisted for the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books. The Children’s Book Council of Australia will be announcing the winners on Friday, 15th August 2014.

Check out all of the shortlisted books for the Children’s Book of the Year Awards here.