Discovering the Arctic


Short-listed for the 2004 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Norma Fleck Award and commended for the 2004 Best Books for Kids and Teens

Discovering the Arctic is an exciting recounting of the life of a 19th century doctor and explorer who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company and opened up vast tracts of land in the Canadian Arctic and may have been the true discoverer of the Northwest Passage. Rae discovered the fate of the failed Franklin Expedition and evidence of cannibalism on the bones he found, but he was disgraced by a slanderous campaign against his name, which resulted in a century of subsequent obscurity. Rae was one of the first Europeans to show respect for Inuit customs and to take inspiration from their Arctic survival skills. John Wilson brings this fascinating man and his times to life in an exciting narrative full of survival stories, shipwrecks and scandals. The book is illustrated with sketches, maps and archival photos.


Canadian Children’s Book Centre Norma Fleck Award
Best Books for Kids and Teens


Wilson does an admirable job of bringing this exceptional, multi-faceted man sharply into focus.


Wilson brings his considerable storytelling talents to Rae's life, relating the details in short, easy-to-read chapters, but losing none of the action and adventure. A fine introduction to the life of a fascinating man.


About the Author

John Wilson

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014

John Wilson

John Wilson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is the author of numerous books for young people. He has written other Stories of Canada titles, including Righting Wrongs and Discovering the Arctic, both of which were shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award for children's non-fiction. He lives in Lantzville, British Columbia.