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Children's LiteratureMatthew Henson was strong willed and independent from the day he was orphaned as a child until he set foot on the North Pole in 1909. He once walked forty miles to Baltimore to become a sailor and would later walk days breaking trails through the Arctic ice. Henson first joined Commander Robert Peary on an expedition to Nicaragua before making four successive trips to the Arctic. Although he died in 1955, it was not until 1988 that he was interred next to Robert Peary at Arlington National Cemetery and 2001 when he was posthumously awarded the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal. Leila Savoy Andrade, a surviving descendant of Henson, was a security guard for the National Geographic Society when that medal was awarded to her great-great-great uncle. In her foreword to the book, she writes of the stories told about the family explorer. This biography is written almost like a gripping novel, holding the reader's attention as each new expedition confronts challenges, including being charged by a wounded musk ox and losing toes to frost bite. Well-placed photos, maps, and quotes add to the drama. Both Henson and Peary fathered children out of wedlock with Inuit Eskimo women and the final photo shows Henson's Inuit son visiting his father's gravesite on his first visit to the United States. The book includes a good timeline, bibliography, and index—an excellent introduction to a man of courage and adventure who is all too often forgotten. 2006, National Geographic Society, Ages 8 to 16.