North by Donna Jo Napoli

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Chanelle laughed. "You'd never have the guts to get near a polar bear in real life. And you'd never travel that far. You the mamma's boy, I hear."

But Chanelle is wrong. Alvin has more guts than even he realizes. And he isn't a mamma's boy. In fact, when his over protective mother goes too far, he leaves home.

Where can Alvin go, though?

He heads north. He will follow in the footsteps of his hero -- Matthew Henson, the bold Arctic explorer. Alvin will prove that he can take care of himself. Alvin will go north to the deadly cold; north to terrifying, frozen windy expanses, where it's easy to get lost even near shelter; north to polar bears and wolves; north to himself. . . .


About Donna Jo Napoli

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Donna Jo Napoli is a highly acclaimed author of both novels and picture books. Her many award-winning titles include Stones in Water, winner of a Golden Kite Award and the Sydney Taylor Book Award; Zel, which was named a Best Book by Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal; Sirena, an ALA Best Book; Beast, a School Library Journal Best Book; and, recently, The Great God Pan. After writing North, she discovered that a good friend of hers actually owns Matthew Henson's snowshoes. Donna Jo Napoli earned both her B.A. in mathematics and her Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures from Harvard University. She is a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College, where among her courses she teaches workshops in writing fiction and poetry. She lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
Published March 26, 2012 by Greenwillow. 193 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Driven by a yearning he can’t articulate but knows is essential to his very being, Alvin, a soft and unsophisticated 12-year-old African-American boy living in Washington, D.C., runs away from his caring but smothering mother and physically declining great grandmother.

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Publishers Weekly

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Having plunged into an assignment for African-American History Month to research his hero, Matthew Henson, Alvin now decides to run away and retrace Henson's path to the North Pole.

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Life in the Arctic is harsh and even deadly, and Donna Jo Napoli makes it come to life with simple imagery that perfectly portrays, in Matthew Henson's words, the "fierce beauty" of the land there.

May 01 2004 | Read Full Review of North

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