(Updated December 2006)
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! 'Tis the winter season and these books selected by Reader Advisor Ginny Ryan tell of people coping with the hardships of winter. Some are true and some are fiction. All will make you shiver. So fix a cup of hot chocolate and put on a warm robe before you begin listening to them.
Abandoned: The Story of the Greely Arctic Expedition, 1881-1884 by A. L. Todd.
Based on Greely family papers, an account of the American expedition, led by then-lieutenant Adolphus Greely, that set off in 1881 to explore islands off the Greenland coast. Describes official bungling and mischance that led to the stranding of the party of twenty-five men, including two Eskimo hunters. RC 57771.
Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure by Richard Evelyn Byrd.
The account of the explorer’s dangerous and dramatic five months’ isolation at an observation base in Antarctica. RC 41488.
Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy.
An account of the massive snow storm that shut down America's east coast in March 1888, killing hundreds. Transportation, food, and coal supplies suddenly ceased. The disaster led to many improvements, including the establishment of the United States Weather Bureau. For grades 5-8. RC 52323.
The Blizzard of ’88 by Mary Cable.
Social history blends with human drama in this vivid chronicle of the ferocious storm that crippled cities and sunk ships as it buffeted the eastern seaboard on March 12, 1888. The winds, ice, snow, and bitter cold exacted a physical as well as psychological toll, particularly on New York City, where city dwellers, dependent on recently installed technological marvels, suddenly found themselves in the midst of anarchy. RC 27714.
Boon Island by Kenneth Lewis Roberts.
A bold tale of the crew of a British ship that crashes on a murderous barren island off the coast of Maine in 1710. The captain and his men fight the elements and each other in their effort to survive through twenty-four days in a Maine winter with no shelter, tools, or fire and almost no food. RC 12455.
Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen
Thirteen-year-old Brian was rescued from the Canadian wilderness at the end of summer in The Hatchet (RC 30535). But what if his distress call had not been heard and he had faced the harsh winter in the woods? This survival story pits the stranded young outdoorsman against the cold, loneliness, and worst of nature. For grades 6-9 and older readers. RC 42558, BR 12117.
Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard by Sara Wheeler.
Chronicle of an Antarctic rescue gone wrong. In February 1912 Cherry-Garrard drove a dog team 150 miles across Antarctica’s ice to rendezvous with Robert Scott’s party, returning from an epic South Pole race. The men, however, had frozen to death on the homeward leg. Portrays Cherry-Garrard as haunted by his failure. RC 55209.
The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin.
The author of Braving the Elements (RC 45451) chronicles an unexpected 1888 blizzard that engulfed the upper Great Plains and killed hundreds, mostly youngsters on the way home from school. Using archives and memoirs, Laskin portrays the immigrant European homesteaders and the storm’s emotional devastation.
Climb or Die by Edward Myers.
The Darcys are headed to their Colorado mountain cabin when a blinding snowstorm hits and a slippery road sends them crashing into a tree. Both parents are seriously injured, so it is up to Danielle, fourteen, and Jake, thirteen, to go for help. Their only hope for survival is to reach the weather station on Mount Remington. For grades 6-9. RC 47312, BR 10476.
The Coldest March: Scott’s Fatal Antarctic Expedition by Susan Solomon.
Scientist uses her meteorological expertise and personal knowledge of Antarctica to reevaluate Scott’s preparations for the 1912 polar journey that ended in his death. Interlaces the expedition’s accounts with contemporary scientific information, reestablishing Scott’s reputation. RC 56195.
Companion to the Alps by Hugh Merrick.
A mountaineer proposes the best routes for driving in the Alps and indicates some of the easier mountain walks. He also describes the peaks, passes, slopes, valleys, meadows, and resorts. RC 10459.
Crossing Antarctica by Will Steger and Jon Bowermaster.
Steger is one of the six-man International Trans-Antarctica team that made its pioneering trip in 1989 and 1990. The team comprised scientists, explorers, dog trainers, and thirty-six sled dogs. In journal style, Steger describes the 220-day, 3,700-mile trek across the snowy frontier, including the traumatic death of a dog and the 13-hour disappearance of one of the men. RC 34799.
Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine by Jochen Hemmleb.
Presents research and findings from the 1999 Mount Everest expedition in search of remains from the ill-fated 1924 climb by George Mallory and Sandy Irvine. Discusses the latter-day group’s reconstruction of Mallory’s route, the dramatic discovery of his body, and the conclusions reached from forensic examination. RC 50812.
Hard Winter at Broken Arrow Crossing by Stephen A. Bly.
Stuart Brannon, lost in a blinding snowstorm, has almost given up finding Broken Arrow Crossing when he senses smoke in the air. He seeks refuge with Everett Davis, who usually stays at the stage station during the winter, but Everett has been badly wounded. Then others, including a pregnant Indian girl, straggle into the station seeking shelter. Stuart Brannon series, book 1. RC 46177.
High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places by David Breashears.
Autobiography of American mountaineer and cinematographer who made the IMAX film Everest in 1996. Discusses his motivation and recounts many of his hazardous exploits climbing vertical cliffs and scaling the world’s highest peaks. Provides details about his filmmaking expedition on Everest during the notorious blizzard that took nine lives. RC 48725.
Historical Catastrophes—Snowstorms and Avalanches by Walter R. Brown and Norman D. Anderson.
Accounts of ten catastrophes caused by snowstorms or avalanches. Includes the tragedy at Donner Pass, winter at Valley Forge, and the blizzards of 1966. For grades 5-8. RC 13396.
Ice Bound: A Doctor’s Incredible Battle for Survival at the South Pole by Jerri Nielsen with Maryanne Vollers.
Former emergency room doctor records her ordeal with breast cancer during an eleven-month stay in Antarctica. Describes the dilemma she faced as the only medical officer for the forty-one members of the research team. Recalls the camaraderie that developed amid the extreme conditions of the 1999 polar winter. RC 51560.
The Iceberg Hermit by Arthur J. Roth.
Minutes after the whaling ship Anne Forbes crashes into an iceberg, 17-year-old Allan Gordon finds himself alone off the coast of Greenland with no food or water and little hope. For junior and senior high readers. RC 8828.
Icebound: The Jeannette Expedition’s Quest for the North Pole by Leonard F. Guttridge.
Recounts the history of the "Jeannette" expedition (1879-1881), which cost the lives of its commander and nineteen others. This American expedition sailed with the hope of reaching the North Pole, but came to grief through a combination of faulty geographical assumptions, poor judgment, and bad luck. Guttridge spices up the story with the gossipy details that made life on the ship the stuff of a Victorian soap opera. RC 26119.
Life in the Cold: An Introduction to Winter Ecology by Peter J. Marchand.
The author, a professor of ecology, discusses the way plants and animals interact with their environment and adapt to the cold in order to survive. The topics discussed include the often surprising solutions to the problems of extreme cold, desiccation, decreased sunlight, and snow and ice. RC 28689.
Living Together by Robert C. S. Downs.
Following the crash of a small plane, Janice Norman and Charlie Perkins must come to grips with surviving the winter in a hunting cabin in a secluded area of northwest Maine. Theirs becomes a battle not only against the sub-zero elements and their own inadequacies, but also against a bizarre back-woodsman who continually watches their movements. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. BR 5578.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
The Ingalls family moves from their stake on the Dakota prairie to their store in town to escape the severe winter. One blizzard follows another until trains stop running and the community, isolated for months, faces starvation. Little House series, book 5. Sequel to "By the Shores of Silver Lake." For grades 4-7 and older readers. RC 21198, BR 11325.
Northern Lights by Tim O’Brien.
A psychological adventure set in the rugged arrowhead country of Minnesota. Two brothers, longtime rivals, face a test of survival when they lose their way on a skiing trip during an unexpected blizzard. Some strong language. RC 9250.
The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party by Marian Calabro.
1846. Letters and diary entries describe twelve-year-old Virginia Reed and her family's journey by wagon train to California with the Donner clan. The group is stranded in deep snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and some desperate travelers resort to cannibalism. Traces the survivors' remaining years. For grades 5-8 and older readers. RC 49865.
A Prairie Boy’s Winter by William Kurelek.
The author's warm memories of his boyhood on the Canadian prairies depict the rigors and pleasures of winter life on the farm. For grades 4-7 as well as older interested readers. RC 11466.
Shackleton’s Boat Journey by Frank Arthur Worsley.
Personal account of a classic survival adventure of men against the sea. Six men, shipwrecked for fourteen months on the pack ice of Antarctica, set off in an open boat on an eight-hundred mile mission to bring help to their comrades marooned on Elephant Island. BR 3541.
Shackleton’s Forgotten Men: The Untold Tragedy of the Endurance by Lennard Bickel.
In 1915 Shackleton’s expedition was marooned in ice on one side of Antarctica. Meanwhile, on the other side a small team of men and dogs persevered to supply food depots for Shackleton’s expected transcontinental crossing. Relates the attendant tragedies of the 2,000-mile sledge journey to fulfill an obligation of honor. RC 51969.
Snow Bound by Harry Mazer.
Furious with his parents, Tony steals his mother's car and heads for the country. Angry with her overprotective grandmother, Cindy hitches a ride with Tony. Together they head straight into a raging blizzard in upstate New York where they face a grim fight for survival. For junior and senior high readers. Some strong language. RC 15110, BR 4440.
Snow in April by Rosamunde Pilcher.
Caroline Cliburn is supposed to be married in a few days. But first she and her brother Jody are determined to find their vanished brother Angus, who is working in Scotland. They only expect to be gone for a few days, but when a spring snowstorm hits and they have a car accident, they end up at the home of Oliver Cairney, a charming bachelor. RC 42485, BR 3159.
Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avalanches by Jill Fredston.
Alaskan avalanche expert discusses the causes of avalanches, their victims, and their predictability. Describes her personal encounters with snow disasters, including some that were man-made for movies. Offers advice on assessing snow conditions and planning sensible routes before venturing out on hikes, skis, or snow transport. RC 62478.
There Will Be a Road by Dwight William Jensen.
In Idaho in the late 1920s, an eighteen-year-old and his buddy decide to live in the woods and earn some money by chopping trees. When their dugout shelter is destroyed by fire they are forced to head back to town. They get caught in a raging blizzard, but the two friends face their trek heroically. For high school and adult readers. RC 13263.
This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich.
After Ehrlich first travels to Greenland in 1993 for health reasons, her euphoria in the northernmost latitudes leads to return trips. Inspired by Knud Rasmussen’s expedition notes, her solo peregrinations bring her into the communal hunting culture of the Inuit. Writes luminous descriptions of her ice adventures and vivid portraits of Polar Eskimos. RC 54678.
Wandering through Winter: A Naturalist’s Record of a 20,000-mile Journey through the North American Winter by Edwin Way Teale.
A naturalist and his wife spent four winter months traveling twenty thousand miles across the southwestern United States and parts of the Midwest, ending in northeastern Maine. He reports on the people, plants, animals, and birds they encountered. Pulitzer Prize. RC 34830.
Winter Harvest by Norah Lofts.
Novel of the American West, inspired by the gruesome ordeal of the Donner party in 1846. Relates the story of two men and two women who for compelling personal reasons seek a new life in California but who become trapped in a high mountain pass where they face slow starvation. RC 21668.
Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen.
Recounts the author's survival adventure: running the 1,180-mile Iditarod dogsled race across the Arctic wilderness. Enduring frostbite, sleeplessness, moose attacks, and countless trail hazards, he finishes the race eager to run another. RC 43280.
The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard.
Epic tale of two-and-a-half years of exploration and survival in Antarctica as recounted by the youngest member of Scott’s last expedition to the South Pole. Describes the difficult crossing of the Beardmore Glacier, Cherry-Garrard’s scientific mission to obtain emperor penguin eggs, and his discovery of Scott’s body. RC 58594.
Winter Thunder by Mari Sandoz.
The harrowing tale of a young schoolteacher and seven of her students stranded in a raging Nebraska blizzard for eight days with only normal winter clothes and the lunches with which they set out. Based on an experience of the author's niece. For high school and adult readers. RC 13453, BR 3900.