Every year, this day is designed to draw attention to the challenges faced by polar bears- and how people can help. You can find out more at: http://www.polarbearsinternational.org/our-work/international-polar-bear-day
This seemed like the perfect opportunity to look at some books on the subject!
The Bear Report by Thyra Heder (Harry N Abrams ISBN: 978-1419707834) is a fantastic book which offers many possibilities for use in school as well as for being enjoyed at home!
Sophie is not really interested in her homework and doesn't want to do it. How often have we parents heard that! Polar bears are big, they eat things and they are mean- these are her 'facts' that she comes up with before going to watch television! Her attitude changes completely when she finds herself face to face with Olafur, a real polar bear.
Igniting curiosity and using imagination are at the heart of this book, showing that children (and adults!) learn best from experiences. Sophie learns much about polar bears and their environment as she and Olafur explore the Arctic together. Now, I'm not suggesting that parents can whisk their children to every location for every piece of homework, but to me, the story demonstrates how things come alive to children when they have a little support, guidance and encouragement from someone who will help them to be curious, to use their imagination, to explore.
Beautifully illustrated, this lovely book offers story and fact- and inspiration!
Poles Apart by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Jarvis (Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-0857634931) is a lovely story book about an unlikely friendship between a polar bear and a family of penguins. Plenty of humour in both the illustrations and text take them all on the adventure of a life time exploring the world before they realise that home- where ever is- is is best, but even better with friends!
Big Bear Little Brother written by Carl Norac and illustrated by Kristin Oftedal (Macmillan Children's ISBN: 978-0230016842)
A lovely story, exploring an unexpected friendship between a boy and a bear. The illustrations are gorgeous and show both the fun they share and the danger they experience perfectly! The book gently explores the idea that external differences should not stop us being friends with, or accepting, others.
Forever by Emma Dodd (Templar ISBN: 978-1848779778). This is a beautiful picture book which explores the relationship between a father and child. Each spread depicts the two in their Arctic home, showing a variety of landscapes. One picture shows the pair reflected in the water as they walk along its edge. There are no other living creatures to be seen, conveying a real sense of the vastness and isolation of their environment. Another shows father and son standing side by side, tiny, under a swirling sky of colour as the Northern lights play above them. Several illustrations have shining silver paper incorporated into the design adding a tactile element. Each picture offers plenty of scope for asking questions and finding answers as well as simply being a joy to share.
The simple, cartoon-like drawings with their bold lines capture the warmth and love between the two and the accompanying text is simple and effective. This is a treasure of a book and will be enjoyed- forever!
A Flower in the Snow by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Sophie Allsopp. (Egmont ISBN: 978-1405249454)
A story about the importance of friendship and being together, 'A Flower in the Snow' is about Sophie and her friend, Bear.
NSTBA winner, Tracey Corderoy, once again shows that quality writing in picture books is so important.The richness of her text expands children's vocabulary, exposing them to new words, which really make the story come to life-
Then, one crisp and twinkly night, a snowflake kissed his nose...
Her beautiful writing is matched by the gorgeous illustrations, making this book a real winner for class and home.
North: The Greatest Animal Journey on Earth By Nick Dowson, illustrated by Patrick Benson (Walker ISBN: 978-1406344035)
This book gives a different view of the Arctic! Starting with the polar bear 'at the top of the world' when 'the Arctic is like an icy desert', the reader is then told about how the Arctic comes to life as in the spring and summer months creatures migrate there from many other places. The illustrations show how the icy tundras are transformed by 'rainbow-bright' flowers with many animals and birds making them their home.
Additional facts and a glossary are included at the end of the book and there are website addresses to encourage further research. Again, the quality of the language used is excellent, making this a pleasure to read either as a story or as non-fiction. The book is lavishly illustrated with a mixture of full page spreads and split page layouts.
Happy International Polar Bear Day- I hope these books help you enjoy it even more!