Finding Bear by Hannah Gold

Publication Date: 28 September 2023

The Blurb

April Wood has returned home from her adventure on Bear Island, but over a year later, she can’t stop thinking about Bear.

When April hears that a polar bear has been shot and injured in Svalbard, she’s convinced it’s her friend and persuades her dad to travel with her to the northernmost reaches of the Arctic. So begins an unforgettable journey across frozen tundra and icy glaciers.

But along the way, she discovers much more than she bargained for – a tiny polar bear cub, desperately in need of her help. In freezing temperatures, April must navigate the dangerous Arctic terrain and face her deepest fears if she’s to save him.

The Review

I cannot tell you how excited I was to receive an early copy of Finding Bear. I am a huge fan of Hannah’s previous books – The Last Bear, and The Lost Whale – and knowing I was going to be reunited with April and Bear was like meeting up with old friends.

Finding Bear is soulful storytelling that sings and swirls and soars its way into your heart. I cried tears of despair and joy along the way to an ending that … no spoilers here!

For April, finding Bear is as much about finding hope and herself as it is finding her best friend, the part of her that has been missing since she left Bear Island. Her sadness at not fitting in at her new school is palpable, as is her increasing loneliness in the face of Dad’s happiness with his new girlfriend. When she hears Bear’s roars across the ocean, she knows the connection they have spans the oceans she must cross to find him again. And when she does, the stakes could not be higher.

Hannah perfectly captures the stark, vast landscape April must traverse and the spellbinding beauty of nature’s greatest dance – the aurora borealis. The cold seeps into your bones as your travel with bear and April across a landscape made more deadly by the rising temperatures that mean snow storms are more frequent while ice is less predictable to cross.

I loved meeting Hedda. The no-nonsense native of Longyearbyen has much to teach us all about the need to respect the world we live in. While she and April don’t get off to the best of starts, it is only as they learn more about each other they see how closely their beliefs and desires for polar bears align.

There is a real call to arms to protect our planet for every creature, one that will have each reader asking what they can do themselves to bring balance and positive change to our environment.

Great for fans of:

  • Melt by Ele Fountain
  • Scarlett Ibis by Gill Lewis
  • Pax by Sarah Pennypacker and Jon Klassen

Huge thanks to Tina and Harper Collins for sending me an early proof copy. I cannot wait to get my hands on a finished copy to see Levi Pinfold’s illustrations nestled alongside Hannah’s story.

I also loved that with the proof was the added gift of life. For every proof sent out, a tree was planted in Madagascar to help restore mangrove forests which provide nurseries for fish, feeding grounds for migratory birds, a first line of defence against storm surges and floodwaters, and natural filtration systems that boost water quality and recharge aquifers. Relative to their land area, they also sequester huge amounts of carbon in plants aboveground and in roots and soils below. You can find out more about the project run by Ecologi here.


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