Saturday, January 12, 2008

Adolescent Literature

I'm currently enrolled in an Adolescent Lit class through BYU. Throughout the course we will be reading a dozen different books written for teenagers. I just finished the first book, Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong. It was an excellent book. It tells the true story of Ernest Shackleton's attempt to cross the continent of Antarctica. Attempt is the key word there because Shackleton and his boat Endurance never even made it to Antarctica (the boat became trapped in frozen ice 100 miles of the coast). The book tells the amazing survival story of Endurance's crew as they were trapped at the bottom of the world for almost 20 months!! Here's how Armstrong ended the book:

Shackleton had failed in his mission. And yet what he and his crew did succeed in doing in 1915-1916 was one of the most incredible feats of survival ever recorded. Every stage of their journey seemed more remarkable than the last. From January 1915, when Endurance was trapped in the ice, during its helpless drift through the Weddell Sea and its destruction in October, to the crew's long, miserable months of camping on the ice, the Boss had held his men together under terrible conditions. Their three-boat passage in April 1916 to Elephant Island was accomplished in spite of enormous odds. The voyage of the James Caird over 800 miles of winter ocean rivals any small-boat journey in history. Shackleton's trek across the unmapped peaks of South Georgia was the first in that hostile mountain range, and the survival of the crew in their hut on Elephant Island over one Antarctic winter is almost too much to believe. And yet it all happened Shackleton brought them all home.

Anyways, I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fast and fascinating read. Here are a few pictures I found of Shackleton, his crew, and the Endurance:

Endurance after it was trapped in the ice pack.

Ernest Shackleton

Endurance after an ice floe hit it.

The crew with a lifeboat, after abandoning Endurance.


Jethro said...

What class are you taking. I am taking one through them also, but mine totally sucks. let me know and I will cancel mine and sign up for yours!

Mandalynn said...

The class is through BYU's reading endorsement program. The program's been okay. There are a total of 7 classes - I'm on 5th class. The good thing about it is that the district is paying for it and anyone can take it. You don't even have to be a LA teacher. I can't remember the district person over it, but if you're interested email me and I'll look her name up.

Jethro said...


I just emailed you my phone number, so get some more info and let me know because I am interested. I am assuming it is taught up here? That would be beyond fabulous!

Lesli Joe said...

I love this book and I am so glad you are sharing it with the world!