Meet Jean Craighead George

Video Shot in: 2010

Jean Craighead George, an acclaimed children’s book writer, and the mother of Bowhead Whale expert and Arctic resident Dr. John “Craig” George, expresses her deep connection and love for the Arctic in a conversation with Peter Lourie. Having visited the Arctic Research Lab in Barrow, Alaska in 1970, she was captivated by the wolves, snowy owls, and the Eskimos she encountered. Inspired by her experiences, she wrote “Julie of the Wolves,” a story about a young girl protected by a wolf pack. Her exploration continued as she learned about whaling and the early Eskimos, which she depicted in her book “Water Sky.” “Ice Whale” aims to shed light on the traditional ways of the Arctic’s inhabitants and their adaptation to the modern world. Jean marvels at how the Eskimos and remarkable individuals like Eugene Brower persist in safeguarding their culture and spiritual connection to the sea, land, and ice, despite the challenges posed by technology and melting ice. She emphasizes the presence of dedicated scientists from around the world and highlights her son, Craig, who heads whale research. Jean acknowledges the extreme conditions of the Arctic, including temperatures as low as 50 below zero, which she experienced firsthand. Despite the harshness, she describes the cold as invigorating and yearns to return to the North, a place she finds ethereal and captivating. Jean believes that the Arctic resonates with the American spirit, evoking a sense of wilderness and drawing people into its allure. She concludes by emphasizing the beauty of this last untamed frontier, acknowledging that many may never have the opportunity to witness its splendor.