Keep On! by Deborah Hopkinson
The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole

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A riveting account of African-American explorer Matthew Henson s 1909 journey to the North Pole with Admiral Peary Many know the story of Robert Peary s great 1909 expedition to reach the North Pole. Yet few people know that Peary was joined on this grueling, history-making journey by fellow explorer Matthew Henson.

Henson was born just after the Civil War, a time when slavery had been abolished, but few opportunities were available for black people. Even as a child, he exhibited a yearning for adventure, and at the age of only thirteen, he embarked on a five-year voyage sailing the seven seas and learning navigation, history, and mathematics.
Henson s greatest adventure began when he accepted an invitation by Robert Peary to join his expedition to the North Pole. The team endured storms, shifting ice, wind, injuries, accidents, and unimaginable cold. Finally on April 1, Peary, Henson, and four Inuit men began the final 133-mile push to the Pole.

Readers will share in the excitement and drama of this remarkable, history-making adventure as award-winning author Deborah Hopkinson pays tribute to a great but under recognized figure from America s past. Illustrator Stephen Alcorn s large-format, stylized ink-and-watercolor illustrations capture all the action. Excerpts from Henson s expedition diaries, a timeline, and an epilogue place the story in its historical context.


About Deborah Hopkinson

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DEBORAH HOPKINSON is the award-winning author of numerous critically acclaimed books for young people, including ABE LINCOLN CROSSES A CREEK; APPLES TO OREGON, winner of the Golden Kite Award; and HOME ON THE RANGE. She lives in Oregon. Visit her website at STEPHEN ALCORN has illustrated a number of books for young people, including LINCOLN: IN HIS OWN WORDS and LET IT SHINE: STORIES OF BLACK WOMEN FREEDOM FIGHTERS. An internationally renowned artist and printmaker, Alcorn lives in New York. Visit his website at
Published January 1, 2009 by Peachtree Publishers. 36 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Children's Books.

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Publishers Weekly

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Hopkinson’s (Sweet Land of Liberty ) tribute to Matthew Henson, the African-American explorer credited as being the “co-discoverer” (along with Admiral Robert Peary) of the North Pole in 1909, retells a story gaining traction among picture-book publishers, adding a few welcome embellishments.

Jan 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Keep On!: The Story of Matthe...

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