Michele TorreyTo the Edge of the World    Magellan 1519

Most of the characters in this book really existed.  Magellan’s accomplishment in circumnavigating the globe is truly incredible.  This of the ship design back then and navigating through uncharted waters using “dead reckoning” methods .   Adventure, survival, mutiny – you can’t make this stuff up!  It really happened.  Excellent author, fantastic book.  From CIP:  In 1519, after the death of his parents, fourteen-year-old Mateo Macías becomes cabin boy to Ferdinand Magellan on a dangerous journey in search of a route to the fabled Spice Islands.

Karen HesseStowaway        Cook     1768-1777

Based on detailed historical research, Karen Hesse, acclaimed Newbery author, swept me away with the story of Captain Cook’s first of three voyages as told through the eyes of a young stowaway.  Told in short journal entries, this book reads very quickly.  I did not know much about Captain Cook’s voyage before reading this.  When I finished, I read a biography on Captain Cook.  From CIP: A fictionalized journal relates the experiences of a young stowaway from 1768 to 1771 aboard the “Endeavor” which sailed around the world under Captain James Cook.

Victoria McKernanShackelton’s Stowaway   Antarctic  1914

The fortitude the men of Shackleton’s crew showed to survive in the South Pole for four months, not knowing if rescue would ever come, eating only the occasional seal or penguin, fighting starvation and frostbite is unbelievable.  Yet it happened.   The adventure is told from the point of view of young, Perce, who stowed away onboard the Endurance.  The photograph of Perce on the back cover brings this story alive.  From CIP: A fictionalized account of the adventures of eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow, who stowed away for the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition and, after their ship Endurance was crushed by ice, endured many hardships, including the loss of his toes to frostbite, during the nearly two-year return journey across sea and ice.

Scott O’Dell Streams to the River, River to the Sea    1804-1806

I have read many of Scott O’Dell’s books.  He needs to be rediscovered by today’s students.  His historical fiction is expertly written – award winning.  This is my favorite book of his.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition relied on Sacagawea for its success.  While the book focuses on Sacagawea, the reader also learns so much about the journey.  I’m amazed anyone made it back alive.  The detailed records that were kept and maps drawn – and today, people get lost without a GPS?  After reading this, I read Blumberg’s nonfiction, The Incredible Journey of Lewis and Clark.  All of Blumberg’s nonfiction reads like fiction, the flow is so smooth and writing so captivating.