Polar, The Titanic Bear

The true story of a toy Steiff polar bear and his American Edwardian family, who survived the Titanic disaster on the night of April 14/15th, 1912. By Daisy Spedden and Edited by Leighton H. Coleman III.

The award winning, Polar, The Titanic Bear, is now in its 16th reprint as a Madison Press Books paperback, and a Scholastic mini edition, has sold over 800,000+ copies with four translations in over 10 countries. Polar, The Titanic Bear was an immediate best seller, selling beyond its initial first printing of 75,000 copies in 1994, and has moved past its #59th spot on The 1994 Red & Black's Top 100 Children's Best Seller List, (the hard cover front list category) and in 1996 made Amazon top twenty children’s book!

This true story was originally written in 1913, by Titanic survivor, Daisy Spedden for then her 7yr. old son, Douglas, and is told through the perspective of his toy bear. The manuscript, detailing their escape from the doomed liner, was found in an about-to-be-discarded steamer trunk by a relative, Mr. Leighton H. Coleman III, and was published for the first time by Little, Brown & Co. in 1994.  In 1994, Polar, The Titanic Bear, was unprecedentedly released world wide, to such countries such as the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Canada, and France (in English.) By 1995, Polar's adventures were translated for the Dutch and German markets. 1997, saw Polar, The Titanic Bear in Japanese, where he was also later appeared on Japanese television (Asahi T.V.) & participated in a teddy bear exhibit in Kyoto. Fall of '98.  Polar debuted in Castilian and in a Scholastic paper back 1998.  

Back in 1995, F.A.O Schwarz Toy Store created over 50,000, special $25.00 plush toy replica's of Polar, The Titanic Bear, and Steiff issued 1,000, $350.00 collectible reproductions of the original 1909 model, to the delight of children and teddy bear fanciers every where. Two new Steiff plush collectibles of Polar came available for the '98 Holiday season, comprising of a $300.00 limited edition and a $150.00 miniature, which were sold out by January. The book, Polar, The Titanic Bear won the 1995 Canadian Silver Birch Award, better known as "The Children's Choice Award" as well as being nominated for Canada's 1995 Governor General's Award.  In America, Polar, The Titanic Bear also won The 1995 Society Of School Librarian's Award for International Best Book For Social Studies K-6, as well as being nominated for The 1995 Georgia Book Award K-4. and the 1996-97 South Carolina Association Of School Librarian's "Children's Book Award." In 1998 The Queeensland branch of The Children's Book Council of Australia awarded Polar the Titanic Bear The 1998 BILBY Award (Books I love Best Yearly), Younger Reader category. 2012, the centennial of the Titanic disaster, saw a special likening program of a collectable Polar by Steiff. 

Polar, The Titanic Bear is clearly a beloved international children's character.

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What They Are Saying...

"A more riveting history lesson will be hard to find"
A.L.A BOOKLIST, starred review
"Text, photographs, and watercolors combine to render the book an appealing mosaic of children's story, travelogue and historical document."
"Snapshots from the Spedden's photo album and other memorabilia provide intriguing glimpses of long-gone lifestyle.... McGaw's romantic paintings are equally effective in their portrayal of the drama at sea and the love between a boy and his bear."
".....Pertinent and detailed."
"Cleverly mixes memoir, history, sociology, and geography to produce an unusual and attractive picture book."
"In a most tender way, Mrs Spedden had recorded the family's adventure on the Titanic ... as seen through the eyes of Douglas's stuffed bear, Polar."
"Polar is a remarkably charming addition to what is already known"
WALTER LORD author of A Night to Remember and The Night Lives On
"It is a very personal warm and fuzzy little story"
"This unusual little book should be of special interest.... Daisy, has brought a bitter sweet story into leading ranks of children's literature."
"There is much history housed within this simple story"
"Children seem enamored by the story, as evident from the oohs and aahs..."
"Polar, The Titanic Bear, has sold 250,000 copies, ensuring that the story of little Douglas Spedden-like the tale of Titanic itself-will live on."
    “A journey with a [Titanic]survivor family, the Speddens,told by a teddy bear named Polar"
NY Seikatsu Press


The 1995 Society of School Librarians' Award for International Best Book for k-6

1995 Georgia Book Award Nominee

1996 nominee for South Carolina Association Of School Librarian's
"Children's Book Award"

Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 1996 ; Nominee

Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for Pre-K--Grade 6, 1997                                                          

National Council of Teachers of English; United States

The 1998 BILBY Award (Books I love Best Yearly), Younger Reader Category                              

(The Queeensland branch of The Children's Book Council of Australia award)

100 Books Too Good to Miss -- School Library Journal, 9/1/1998

Not Just for Children Any More, 1999 ; Children's Book Council; United States (Best Books)        

Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001 ; H.W. Wilson; United States