Book Review: Marooned in the Arctic The True Story of Ada Blackjack, the “Female Robinson Crusoe” 


Marooned in the ArcticThe True Story of Ada Blackjack, the “Female Robinson Crusoe”by Peggy Caravantes

Chicago Review Press

Children’s Nonfiction

Pub Date Mar 1, 2016

I was given an Arc copy of Marooned in the Artic by the Publisher and there partnership with Netgalley in exchange for my honest review which is as follows:

Ada like many Eskimo girls, was married at a young age the age of sixteen but her husband was abusive to her and her children all of her Children but one died of unknown caused and the surviving child had Tuberculosis when she could not eek out enough earnings for his medical care she placed him at the Jesse Lee Home for Children a Methodist Orphanage that took both parentless children and children whose parents could not care for them.

Soon Ada is told that noted Canadian and Artic explorer Vihjalmur Steffanson
has gathered men to go to Wrangel Island an uninhabited Artic island almost six hundred miles north of Nome, Surrounded by the Chuckchi Sea and they are looking for a seamstress to go along with them to sew clothes for the men.  They had asked other Eskimo families on this voyage but Ada was the only Eskimo that showed up.

Ada felt small amongst the four men who went on the expedition, Allan R, Crawford, F. Lorne Knight, F.W Maurer and Milton Galle.

Once at camp Ada would take off for several days at a time much to the men’s dismay, even when they punished her by only allowing her bread and water she would still wander.

Soon the explorers find themselves dealing with the loss of several sled dogs, leaving them with only five, scurvy from lack of fresh produce and meat as well as frostbite.  On June.23 1923 Knight died from the effects of Scurvy, leaving Ada at camp alone because moths earlier the other explorers had gone to look for help, and had not returned…

After Ada’s rescue a replacement team lives on Wrangel Island including Charles Wells and Twelve American Eskimo Trappers..

Ada’s Blackjack was a battle against poverty and though her son Billy tried to help her an d her other Son Bennett who had suffered from Tuberculosis and became blind in one eye and deaf Bennett would die in 1972 at the age of 58, and Ada died at the Palmer nursing home on May.29.1983 at the age of 85.

This true story would make a great learning tool for Middle grade students as well as a great non fiction book that shows how one woman survived while everyone else on that same expedition died…

Four out of five Stars

Happy Reading


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