Magical Arctic Animals

During my research for the writing of my second novel, Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword, I learned a lot about the Arctic. Called the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” for its two month summer period of continuous light – it is a harsh, frozen environment with longer periods of total darkness and subzero temperatures.

Despite this, it is a place that is teeming with life in the sky, on land and in its waters. I’ve already told you about the Arctic’s biggest predator, which is also a main character in my novel – the polar bear. But there are many other amazing animals I found out about, and some of them appear in my book as well.

While watching the TV series Wildest Arctic, a nature documentary on the Arctic Circle, I learned that Svalbard, Norway is home to more polar bears than people. The winter is harsh, with no sunlight for months at a time and temperatures at 20 below 0. In addition to polar bears, there are many animals on land, in the air and in the sea – many of them being prey for the polar bears. Arctic sea animals include Beluga and Bowhead Whales, Orca, Walruses, Seals (the seals are the polar bear’s main source of food) and Narwhals.

A sea bird you can find in Greenland is the Arctic Tern. You can also see the Snowy Owl. On land there are Hares, Foxes, Caribou, Lynx, Lemmings, Wolves and Wolverines.

All of these animals, not just the polar bears, are in danger from the effects of global warming, hunting, polluted water and land. Please visit the World Wildlife Foundation website to learn how you can help Arctic conservation & animal protection efforts.

As I said above, some of these amazing Arctic animals have found a home within my Bear Kingdom story. Because my story is a fantasy, I have given them some magical traits – but their characters are based on the real animals that can be found in the Arctic today. Will they help Suzie, Jack, Liam & Elena on their dangerous quest in Bear Kingdom? Or will they hurt them? I’m excited to share this new adventure with you soon!

Bear Kingdom & The Golden Sword, the second exciting adventure in The Dream Chronicles series, will be available on Amazon December 15, 2017.


-Wildest Arctic (TV series, Netflix, 2012).

-Polar Bears and the Arctic: Magic Tree House Research Guide by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce (Random House NY 2007).

YA Book Review: Shimmer and Burn 

Shimmer and Burn, by Mary Taranta, is a YA fantasy novel that dazzles readers with dark magic, hidden kingdoms and intriguing characters. The first of a duology, it is the kind of book that pulls you in to its world and holds you breathless as you learn its dangers and secrets. The prose is rich and detailed while also full of action that at times will stun readers with the depth of its darkness. Yet within it there is also a bright streak of hope that seems to follow its protagonist, Faris, through even the most dangerous adventures.

Faris is a teenage girl living in the hidden kingdom of Brindaigel, where magic and lives are strictly controlled. Living as a servant and caring for her sister, she dreams of seeing what lies beyond the mountains that separate Brindaigel from the wider world. But the people of Brindaigel are not free; they’ve been told they are kept inside the kingdom in order to remain safe from a plague that wiped out another kingdom beyond the mountains: Avinea. But is the King telling the truth? What really lies in Avinea? Faris risks her life to find out, journeying to a land that, unlike the beautiful Avinea of her dreams – is a frightening place where people and magic are bought and sold at high stakes. There, Faris finds herself tied to a beautiful yet dangerous princess, Bryn, and a mysterious magician, North, as she seeks freedom for both her sister and herself.

The strength of this story lies in both the detailed fantasy world and its kingdoms that Taranta has built, as well as the complex relationships between its characters. Faris is a strong female protagonist willing to fight for herself and the ones she loves, yet princess Bryn and magician North are written equally as strong and have enough mystery to keep readers wanting more of them. Perhaps the most beautiful moments in Shimmer and Burn are the quiet ones, when we find that at the heart of this magic filled fantasy is a girl who wants the thing that seems so easily given, yet remains most elusive: the freedom to dream.

This is a magical fantasy that, like its title, both shimmers and burns with a story that will no doubt make many readers fall in love with a young girl seeking the freedom to dream, and to live life on her own terms.

*I received an ARC from KidlitExchange in exchange for an honest review.

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Stacie Eirich is a writer as well as an avid reader & book reviewer. She holds a Masters Degree in English Studies from Illinois State University. She has published four books of poetry and a children’s novel: Tiger Kingdom & The Book of Destiny. She lives north of New Orleans, and is currently writing her second children’s novel.

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