Bibliographic information: McCaughrean, G. (2007). The White Darkness: a novel. New York, NY: HarperTempest.
Annotation: This book is about a girl named Symone who is obsessed with Antarctica. Titus is her imaginary friend, who also was an explorer who was lost in an expedition. He is the one she turns to, because there isn’t really anyone else there since her dad died. Her uncle arranges for her to go on a trip to Antarctica where she faces the white darkness. The sun never sets during the summer. She enjoys the silence and purity of the continent, which other people find depressing and not satisfying. Her uncle wants to make his mark, and isn’t concerned with their safety. This leaves Symone to decide whether to trust her inner feelings or her uncle.
Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction
Grade Level: 5th
Readers who will like this book: People who like action, people who like Antarctica, and people interested in life or death situations.
Personal Response and Rating: I give this book a 5/5. I thought this book was exciting and full of action, which kept me engaged. I enjoyed that the book was told entirely from the girl’s point of view as well.
Text Dependent Question: In what ways did Symone connect to Antarctica?
Strategy #26 Open-Mind Portraits: This strategy has students think about a character and reflect on events from the story in the characters viewpoint. First they draw a picture of the character. Then they attach it to the top of the thinking pages. The thinking pages are for them to write their thoughts about the story through the characters point of view.
Rationale: Since this story is told from Symone’s point of view, I think that this would be a useful activity in getting students to think about the important events in the story. They will see more deeply how she was thinking and feeling through these events as well.