Race to the Frozen North: The Matthew Henson Story

When orphan Matthew Henson ran away from his violent stepmother to find a new life in the big city of Baltimore, no one could have predicted that he would become the first man to reach the North Pole. A little luck and a lot of hard work led to a life of adventure on the high seas and in the frozen lands of the Arctic, but back home in America his achievements were ignored because of the colour of his skin.

Race to the Frozen North tells the remarkable true story of Matthew Henson who accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic and may have been the first man to reach the North Pole in 1909. Catherine Johnson previously recounted the story in her 2008 publication Arctic Hero but here takes on the difficult challenge of writing a completely personal narration using Matthew’s own voice. This technique gives the story a wonderful directness as Matthew modestly tells the tale of his amazing achievements.

It also makes the story of what happened on his return home so affecting. The treatment of Matthew as a black man in a segregated America denied him the acclaim that was rightfully his.

Race to the Frozen North
is a Barrington Stoke ‘Super-Readable’ book featuring a dyslexia-friendly layout, typeface and paper stock making it accessible and enjoyable to all readers, including those with dyslexia or visual stress. These features, combined with the exciting story of Matthew Henson, make this a must read for ages 8 and up.