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3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  300 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Chanelle laughed. "You'd never have the guts to get near a polar bear in real life. And you'd never travel that far. You the mamma's boy, I hear."

But Chanelle is wrong. Alvin has more guts than even he realizes. And he isn't a mamma's boy. In fact, when his over protective mother goes too far, he leaves home.

Where can Alvin go, though?

He heads north. He will follow in the
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published May 4th 2004 by Greenwilbk (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 632)
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Oct 01, 2010 Linnae rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile
Alvin is the "most responisble kid he knows" and yet his overprotective mother just keeps adding more and more restrictions. He can't get a bike--even though he has earned the money, he can't go on the class field trip, and now he won't even be able to walk to school alone. He's 12, for pete's sake! He will never hear the end of it!

Inspired by his hero--explorer Matthew Hensen--he runs away from home, to Canada's Arctic. He doesn't have a clear plan of how to get there, and can't really explain
Max Ostrovsky
Jul 27, 2016 Max Ostrovsky rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I wasn't expecting much from this young adult book. Inner city black kid wants to go as far north as possible. I figured it would address racial issues and Jack London-esque cliches.
I was only slightly right. There were racial issues addressed. However, they weren't slap in the face, learn a lesson, target audience has to be African American to enjoy.
It was simply part of the story and while issues were brought up, I wouldn't say this book is targeted. Anyone can read and enjoy this story. The
Jun 06, 2014 elissa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: napoli fans
Very different from Napoli's typical retold fairy tales. I've read a couple of books of hers that were survival stories, and the descriptions of the Artic in this one are incredible! I'm a sucker for lyrical descriptions!
Anne Slater
Mar 12, 2011 Anne Slater rated it really liked it
Kept me up until 1:30 am. 90% believable plot line,
psychology of characters' interaction 100% believable,
ethnography fantastic and not intrusive.
Jan 08, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Abby Johnson
Mar 26, 2008 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
North is the story of Alvin, a boy with dreams of being an explorer. He pictures himself going to Africa, Asia, the Amazon... Unfortunately, his mother is so overprotective that she won't even let him buy a bicycle with his own money. When Mamma finds out that a drug dealer approached Alvin on his way home from school, she insists on having an elderly neighbor walk him to school every morning. For Alvin, it's the last straw. He's been studying the polar explorer Matthew Henson in school and he d ...more
Alvin, almost 12, is a good student, studies hard, wants to please. His mother doesn't recognize what a great kid she has... and babies him. She doesn't let him go on sleepovers, has an adult walk him to school every day, and won't allow him to get a mountain bike that he's saved money for. The kids call him 'mama's boy'.

His teacher, Ms. Artiga, assigns a huge project for Black History Month. They have to pick a black hero, do both primary and secondary research, and finally report to the class
Dec 13, 2014 Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
I picked this book up from the free table at work. It is a middle school age book and Alvin, a 12 yr old boy whose hero is Arctic explorer Matthew Henson is feeling suffocated by an overprotective mother/grandmother and runs away with a goal of reaching the Artic Circle. Unfortunately it is January and there are many obstacles in his way. I enjoyed the premise, characters and adventures in this book. A good read.
West Region,
North, by Donna Jo Napoli

Twelve-year-old Alvin has been given an assignment: choose a famous African-American to study. Alvin selects Matthew Henson, who in 1909 reached the North Pole.

Inspired by Henson and feeling trapped by his overly protective mother, Alvin decides to leave his home in Washington DC and head “North”. With help, he makes it close to the Arctic Circle, and experiences cold like he has never felt it before. Juice is frozen solid in its can, and sandwiches are “harder than any
Michele Karmartsang
10/07 Lively and believably written- a kid makes it so far North from Washington DC, evading being caught and sent back home for months, while he learns all he needs to know. I would have liked a little more at the end, since his mom being so protective of him and limiting his activity was such a part of the story.
Tucker Peterson
Feb 29, 2016 Tucker Peterson rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2014 Stirling rated it really liked it
Alvin is known as a mammas boy and has so many restrictions its hard to live life. So he goes north to the artic trying to follow the foot steps of matthew hendson. But it just makes maters worse with polor bears wolves and hypothermia will he find the barren beauty he is looking for will he make it alive find out in north.
Daniel E.
Jun 10, 2011 Daniel E. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: north
What I liked about this book was Alvin's mom didn't want him to ride a bike because he might fall off or something might happen and when Alvin was in the one home with no privty how the kids would just fart with a vister there and when alvin was trying to leave his home on what he packed was kind of funny because his family doesn't really like oreo's

what I didn't like about the book was that some of the sentances weren't really complete and how if you didn't read one page you wouldn't know what
Mark Smiley
Apr 23, 2014 Mark Smiley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 12 year old boy dreams of doing so etching big. One of his heroes is an arctic explorer. Alvin decides to head north. He has wonderful adventures and learns lessons. Good book for teens, one who want to get out of the house. Recommended
Jul 29, 2009 Abby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
North took a long time to take hold of my emotions. The story is almost completely irrelevant to me and my life. Not until Alvin met Idlouk did I really care about what was happening. I understand that the perils and hardships of such a long journey take up a lot of pages, but there was too much time spent on nonsense. The book's true heart was not revealed until the last quarter, and it could have been introduced much earlier, had Alvin discovered it himself. Discovery is the theme of the book, ...more
Jeni Enjaian
This is another really good book by Napoli. The narrator had a very believable voice. His experience showcased many cultural norms which Napoli described well while avoiding becoming pedantic. Napoli crafts a compelling, engaging narrative that at times had me feeling like I did not want to put the book down. Napoli also stretches the suspension of disbelief about as much as it can go with Alvin's reactions to the seemingly insurmountable challenges placed in his way. His growth as a character i ...more
Eric Johnson
Feb 28, 2012 Eric Johnson rated it it was amazing
I really liked the book North by Donna Jo Napoli because it was an adventure book that took place in two different countries and the atmosphere and the way you read the book changes with the locations.The main character Alvin is feeling like he is babied all of the time by his mother and is grandma.Him and his mother argue about how Alvin thinks he is old enough for certain things so Alvin gets mad he decides hes going to go out into the world and show his mom that he can make without out her an ...more
Kelvin Chan
Mar 31, 2016 Kelvin Chan rated it it was amazing
Very good THE one of the first books that I have read (I was about 8 or 9 when I read this book) . Still have vivied imaginations to this day
Mar 22, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it
The writing isn't spectacular, but the story is compelling. I liked that it was so unlike anything I've read before.
Jan 08, 2012 Sarahk rated it really liked it
This book is about a boy named Alvin who gets tired of his mother, and how she has been overprotective of him his whole life. When his teacher gives him a book project about African Americans from history, he learns about Matthew Henson. He was a traveler who traveled the Arctic at a very young age. Alvin decided that he wanted to be just like Matthew Henson, so he just packed up his stuff and left. Alvin could not have met better people along his journey, and they did very much for him when he ...more
Apr 13, 2015 Polly rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this, especially the bits set in my old DC neighbourhood!
Oct 03, 2012 Drew8cn rated it really liked it
Shelves: or-2012-2013
This is a charming novel about a boy named alvin who escapes his boring life at home in order to follow in his hero's path by going to the north pole. Alvin is threatened by many things, including people trying to send him home, wild animals, and most importantly, the biting frost of the winter in northern Canada. However, with the help of some friends along the way, he makes his journey and learns a more traditional way of life. I would reccomend this book to anyone.
Terry Heming
Sep 21, 2012 Terry Heming rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2009 Laura rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 13, 2008 Mama rated it really liked it
Great read for teens! I'm going to recommend it for my 9th graders as a possible geography book report read. I could use some other suggestions for good books that touch on some aspect of geography. Any ideas? I've got: The Great Gatsby,
The Grapes of Wrath, Journey to the Bottom of the World.

Jasmine Pichardo
Mar 28, 2013 Jasmine Pichardo rated it it was amazing
I thought this story is amazing because of the suspense it has. I wonder where he will end up? the question I asked myself during the entire time I was reading this "survival mode" book. I think this shows us that people may say you will never make it you shouldn't give up. Ever.
Mar 19, 2009 Megan is currently reading it
This book is about a boy who's name is Alvin, he is going to need to do a report on an African American and will have to do secondary and primary research. He will get his report done and will have an awesome one better than anyone else's.
Jan 15, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok
Donna says she is a young adult writer but I just find these books are very much adult in there content. These are not your sweet Disney fairy tales. They are harsh and crude at times and not for the light reader.
Kaylynn Johnsen
Aug 03, 2009 Kaylynn Johnsen rated it did not like it
I didn't finish this book. There were things in the first chapter that just turned me off. And I am so old now that I don't have to finish books if I don't want to. Anyway, I think the whole story is irresponsible.
Liz B
May 26, 2013 Liz B rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good (for me; it's solidly middle grade and I'm not much of a middle grade reader). I particularly enjoyed the details of life and survival in the far north of Canada.
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From her website:

Donna Jo Napoli is both a linguist and a writer of children's and YA fiction.

Donna Jo has five children. She dreams of moving to the woods and becoming a naturalist. She loves to garden and bake bread.

At various times her house and yard have been filled with dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits. For thirteen years she had a cat named Taxi, and liked to go outside and call, "Taxi!" to
More about Donna Jo Napoli...

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