And My Heart Beat, "Antarctica, Antarctica"

My next book for the middle grade audience is WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA: And Other Poems from the Frozen Continent, with illustrations by Anna Wadham, coming Spring, 2016.

That's right. Antarctica. Could there be a more unloveable setting? And yet, and yet: I am in love with Antarctica. And I hope when readers open these pages that they will fall in love with the frozen continent, too.

My obsession began as many of my obsessions do: with a book. THE WHITE DARKNESS by Geraldine McCaughrean. Among other honors, the book earned the Printz Award. Talk about perfect setting for a shy girl's journey through a stark, cold mystery...

Here's a paragraph from the opening pages:

"Come to think of it, Uncle Victor gave me most of my ice books. Every birthday and Christmas. Books about The Ice and the North Pole; about Shackleton and Scott, Laurence Gould and Vivian Fuchs, Nansen and Barrents, Franklin and Peary; about penguins and polar bears, whales and seals and boreales... About Captain Lawrence Oates, the one they called "Titus." Uncle Victor understands how the whole idea creeps up on you like pack ice -- pressing in and pressing against your head, then crushing the hull and tumbling inside... if we ever did a project in school on Antarctica, I could shine. Like Mount Erebus in midsummer, I could shine, I could shine!"

So, writers... go out there an mine those obsessions for settings... even if they seem completely unloveable -- and SHINE. xo

Bonus pic!
a Chinstrap Penguin interior spread by the amazing Anna Wadham!


  1. What a great peek into how you got your idea for this collection. I am going to check out WHITE DARKNESS. Beautiful! And that art in your book...gorgeous.

  2. I can't wait to see this one! Fun!!

  3. I can't wait to see this one! Fun!!

  4. Inspiration comes from the most mysterious and magical places. Thank you for sharing your heartbeat, Irene!

  5. I love The White Darkness! I feel like it's woefully underread, even as a Printz winner.

    1. Oh, me, too, Megan! Among so much else to love, I have never seen an introverted person portrayed so brilliantly. I love knowing you are a fellow WHITE DARKNESS fan. :)

  6. I love The White Darkness! I feel like it's woefully underread, even as a Printz winner.

  7. Looking forward to cooling off with this next spring - thanks for the sneak preview!

  8. These icy pics look soooo good right now...

  9. I love how you take something that seems cold and dreary and make it mystical and magical. Can't wait to add this to my collection

  10. Can't wait to read this new book!


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