Booktalk for FIRST LIGHT by Rebecca Stead

first-light-coverPeter’s father is a scientist who studies ice caps and glaciers. For the first time ever, Peter gets to go with him on a research trip to the Arctic. Peter and his parents will spend six weeks in Greenland. He’s going to miss his friend Miles and his favorite Chinese restaurant in New York, but it’s going to be an awesome adventure. Sled dogs! Camping on ice! No school! But his parents seem worried. He overhears them saying things like, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and when they get out on the ice, they seem to be looking for something that has nothing to do with glaciers.

A world away, Thea ice skates to work every day, savors rationed fresh greens grown in the greenhouses, and wonders what the sun and stars and horizon look like. Her great-great-great-great grandparents fled England—but instead of settling in America or Australia, they started a hidden community under the ice in the Arctic. Now the community is outgrowing its space. Thea wants to explore the surface and search for ways to expand their territory, but the community’s leader—her grandmother—is dead set against it. The wider world means danger; there is nothing good to be found there. Besides, there is no way to the surface. The tunnel the original settlers used was consumed by the ice long ago. At least that’s what Thea has always been told. Then a map appears in her bedroom. It could change everything.

First Light is the story of Peter, Thea, and some loyal working dogs. They might just discover that the world is bigger than anyone imagined.

Genre: science fiction

Grades 5-8.