Why do Explorers leave behind the security of hearth and home to tackle unknown obstacles that just might be the death of them? Explorers, for kids, attempts to answer this age-old question with a survey of seven of the world’s bravest adventurers to ever live. Without their fearless wanderings over the centuries, kids will discover, our knowledge of the world would be much more limited, and our tales of courage and survival a little less inspiring. Fittingly, the issue begins with the travels of Cabeza de Vaca, who set out to find riches in what is now Florida but ended up exploring much of the American Southwest as well when his expedition fell apart.
No issue on explorers, for kids, would be complete without also recounting Captain Cook’s voyages of discovery around the Pacific, which ended with his stabbing in Hawai’i in 1779. Lesser-known heroes of the open road, like Burke and Wills, who explored the Australian outback, and Mike Collins, who sat in orbit while Neil Armstrong was first to set foot on the Moon, also get their due. Kids studying explorers will also be surprised to learn that it wasn’t just white men who got all the glory: They’ll read about Annie Smith Peck, who conquered Peru’s Mt. Huascarán at the age of 57, and Matthew Henson, who may have been the first man – and the first African American man, at that – to reach the North Pole in 1909.