When the Sun Shines on Antarctica

And Other Poems about the Frozen Continent

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Icebergs brighten
as the sky peels
itself of darkness
and stretches awake. . . .

We’ve been waiting
for you.

Experience summer like you’ve never experienced it before by traveling to Antarctica with evocative poetry. The sun rises, ice melts, grass grows, seals squabble, whales sing, and young penguins slide, glide, and belly flop. Whimsical illustrations and additional facts accompany each poem to provide further details about the animals and the environment at the bottom of the world.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 3 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 4
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2016
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2016-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 11.8
Text Type Poetry
BISACS JNF058000, JNF042000, JNF051000
Dewey 508.989
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.75 x 9.75
Lexile 1110
Guided Reading Level S
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Original artwork, and Reviewed


  • NCTE Notable Poetry List, Winner, 2017
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2017



“The creators of Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole (2014) here offer poetry and art focused on the Antarctic summer. . . . [This] will be welcomed by classrooms combining poetry and science.”—Booklist

School Library Journal

​"Latham does a compelling job of presenting facts alongside verse. . . . Through stunning, evocative artwork, Wadham brings the hues of the Antarctic to life. . . . A delightful assortment of verse that is enhanced by stimulating information and charming illustrations."—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

“Wadham’s paintings adeptly match the whimsical and mysterious notes in Latham’s poems, making for a fascinating study of the Antarctic’s singular creatures and features.”—Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“The gentle illustrations excel at balancing both the frigid iciness and the blossoming hope of spring. Though playfulness abounds, this is not a romanticized portrait of life in the polar south. . . . A tender, lively, and mostly thoughtful tour through summer on the frozen continent.”—Kirkus Reviews

Author: Irene Latham

Irene Latham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming works of poetry, fiction, and picture books, including Charlotte Huck Honor Book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (co-written with Charles Waters) and the Caldecott Honor Book The Cat Man of Aleppo(co-written by Karim Shamsi-Basha). Winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, she became obsessed with octopuses after reading The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Just like Agnes, she enjoys sending—and receiving—postcards. Visit her at www.irenelatham.com.

Illustrator: Anna Wadham

Anna Wadham is the illustrator of several picture books and has an MA in children's book illustration. She lives in Norwich, England, where she enjoys the rooftop views from her flat and the city cafes.