Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
The Impossible Rescue

The Impossible Rescue

Fall 2012 Non-Fiction
Ages: 10 - 14 yrs.
Author: Martin W Sandler
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763650803
Hardcover Price: $22.99

In the late 1800s, whaling ships routinely sailed from San Francisco to Alaska hunting bowhead whales for their valuable bones. They traveled north in milder weather then sailed out before the brutal winters set in.

In 1897 a winter storm came early and packed the ships in mountainous blocks of ice. Eight ships and three hundred men were trapped in the most barren and remote area of Alaska. Some of the ships were crushed forcing the sailors to walk miles over the ice to shore where they piled into cramped and unsanitary cabins with poor accommodations. Other men remained aboard their ships. Their chances of staying alive for the months it would take until the weather eased enough to let them escape the ice and sail home were slim.

President McKinley commissioned three men to sail to Alaska and bring the stranded sailors enough food and supplies to keep them alive until they could sail home. The mission required the men to travel over 1500 miles of ice, rock and barren land in the harshest conditions imaginable, then pick up supplies and enough reindeer to feed all the men through the winter months. Nothing like it had ever been attempted before and few expected the men to succeed.

Each of the individuals in this heroic story warrants a biography of his own. Together, they pulled off one of the most incredible rescues in history. The book includes real photographs from the journey along with letters and journal entries. It's intimate and riveting. This is a fascinating historical account and an uplifting tale of compassion and the will to survive.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2012 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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