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New Alaskana since 2000 – Books for Young People

Page history last edited by Sue Sherif 13 years, 8 months ago


Please click on any title below to see its WorldCat.org record, which will list many holding libraries and usually link to additional information about the book.


ABC’s of Kachemak Bay. Artwork by Lynn Marie Naden. Text by Ann Keffler. Friends of the Homer Public Library, Inc. 2008. All Ages. This is a wonderfully done book about the ABC’s. Children would have fun looking at the pictures and reading the silly stories about the plants and animals living in Kachemak Bay.


Alone Across the Arctic: One Woman’s Epic Journey by Dog Team. Flowers, Pam with Ann Dixon. Alaska Northwest, 2001. Grades 6-12.  Musher Flowers tells the amazing story of her 2,500 mile journey with her dog team across the Arctic Coast of North America.  For a picture book version for younger students, see Big-Enough Anna, also by Flowers and Dixon, below.  Study guide available: http://www.gacpc.com/images/ALONEA.pdf


Alaska Animals, We Love You! Chants and Poems for Children. Bridges, LaVon and Alice Wright. Illustrated by M. R. Anderson. Publication Consultants, 2005 (PO Box 221974, Anchorage, AK 99522-1974) Preschool- Grade 2 The CD included helps to bring the chants and poems developed in the classroom to life.


Alaska’s Glaciers: Frozen in Motion.  Hocker, Katherine. Illustrated by Kathy Lepley. Alaska Natural History Association, 2006 (750 West Second Ave., Suite 100, Anchorage, AK 99501)  Grades 4 – 8.  A spiral-bound compendium of all things glacier, this attractive book features factual information about glaciers, maps, good color photos, a glossary, and, most helpful, a few glacier-related science activities.


Alaska’s Heroes : A Call to Courage.  Ferrell, Nancy W.  Alaska Northwest, 2002. Grades 8-12. Brief accounts of many of the State of Alaska Award for Bravery-Heroism recipients.


Alaska’s 12 Days of Summer. Chamberlin-Calamar, Pat. Illustrated by Shannon Cartwright. Sasquatch/Paws IV, 2003. Preschool-Primary. A patterned picturebook based on the traditional Christmas song, but with an Alaska summer twist.


Alaska’s Totem Poles. Kramer, Pat. Alaska Northwest, 2004. Grades 7- Adult. Although not written specifically for young people, this guide to totem poles combines insights into both the cultures that produce the totem poles and the poles themselves.  A FAQ about the poles is quite useful and clear.  The author consulted SE Alaska carvers, and carver David Boxley writes the foreword.  Clear color and black-and-white photos will make the book useful even for readers who may find the text a bit challenging.


Alaska’s Watchable Whales: Humpback & Killer Whales. Kelley, Mark and John Hyde. Text by Linda Daniel. Mark Kelley, 2004. (PO Box 20470, Juneau, AK 99802, 1-888-933-1993). All Ages.  A photographic scrapbook of whales in action, this picturebook format book also provides all sorts of interesting facts about the life and habits of humpbacks and orcas as well as true-life whale tales. 


Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights. Miller, Debbie S. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle. Walker, 2003.   Grades 1 – 3. Written to explain the concept of the changing seasons’ days and nights to children elsewhere, it can also be used with Alaskan students to compare their regions’ changing light patterns with those of the central interior.  A glossary explains some of the natural phenomena such as alpenglow, sundogs, the equinoxes and the solstices.


Aleutian Sparrow. Hesse, Karen. Margaret McElderry Books. 2003. Grades 5-8. The tragic story of the Aleutian evacuation during World War II is told in unrhymed verse through the eyes of Vera, an evacuee by the Newbery-Award winning author of Out of the Dust.


Anglissiyaalria Aana: Qimugciyagallrem Qerallra Arctic-aaq. Igarth Pam Flowers ikayurtii-wa Ann Dixon. Pilinguarta Bill Farnsworth Alaska Northwest, 2005. A Yup’ik version of Big Enough Anna, produced for the Lower Kuskokwim School District, Bethel, Alaska. [Not found in WorldCat.]


Atsat Irr’inargelllriit. Igartek Teri Sloat cali Betty Huffmon. Pilinguarta Teri Sloat. Translator, Elena Chingliak. Yupiit School District, 2004.  Yup’ik edition of Berry Magic (see below).  Available from only from Yupiit School District, PO Box 51190, Akiachak, AK 99551-1190 (907-825-3600). [Not found in WorldCat.]


Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with a Caribou Herd.  Heuer, Karsten.  Walker, 2007.  Grades 4 and up.  Heuer and his wife Leanne are Canadians who followed the caribou migration from the Northwest Territories of Canada to Alaska’s North Slope.  Interested in promoting the protection of ANWR, their experience of following the entire caribou journey is one that few non-Natives have ever undertaken.  The Heuers post a related website at: http://www.beingcaribou.com  They also documented the trip in a film.


Benny’s Flag. Karsilovsky, Phyllis. Illustrated by Jim Fowler. Roberts Rinehart, 2002. Primary. A picture book version with strong illustrations of the story of the boy who designed Alaska’s flag.  See also a related website at:  http://www.museums.state.ak.us/EightStars/index.html


Berry Magic. Huffmon, Betty and Teri Sloat. Illustrated by Teri Sloat. Alaska Northwest, 2004. Primary. Yup’ik storyteller Hoffman and former Alaska teacher Sloat adapt a story of Western Alaska that explains how a little girl sews dolls that works magic on a tasteless berry crop.  Also available in the Yup’ik language edition. See  Atsat Irr’inargellriit above.http://www.gacpc.com/images/sg_bermag.pdf


Big Alaska : Journey Across America’s Most Amazing State. Miller, Debbie S. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle. Walker, 2006. All ages. Inspired by a visiting toy eagle named Everett that was sent by a fourth grade class, Miller takes a 3,100 mile eagle-eye view of the state. Her emphasis is on Alaska superlatives (the largest gathering of walruses, strongest North American earthquake) along the trip that touches most areas of the state.  Van Zyle’s paintings will please young and old readers, and the end sections include Alaska facts, state symbols, climate records, and more detailed description of the special places the readers visit through the picture book. 


The Big Caribou Herd: Life in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Hiscock, Bruce Boyds Mill Press, 2003.   Grades 3-6. A large, format informational book that combines natural history with striking watercolor and pencil illustrations.


Big-Enough Anna: The Little Sled Dog Who Braved the Arctic Flowers, Pam with Ann Dixon. Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth Alaska Northwest, 2003. Ages 5 and up. This attractively illustrated picturebook tells the story of Pam Flowers’ 2,500-mile Arctic journey by dog sled from the point of view of small lead dog Anna.  Study guide and coloring sheet: http://www.gacpc.com/images/big_enough.pdf


Bunny: An Alaskan Hare. Avril Johannes and Jan Branham. Icicle Falls Publishing. 2006. All ages. This is a touching true story about an Alaskan hare named Bunny. Bunny was in the care of the author and her family living near Fairbanks and stayed with them until it was big enough to be on its own. The author stated that she and her family had permits from Fish and Game which allow them to care for injured or orphaned wild animals. This story is quite enjoyable and has actual pictures of Bunny’s time spent with the author. Also see Squeak: An Alaskan Squirrel and Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe: Four Alaskan Ravens.


The Cabin That Moose Built: An Alaskan Tale. Stihler, Cherie. Illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell. Paws IV/Sasquatch., 2006. Preschool – Grade 2.  The same team that created the “folk tale” The Giant Cabbage produces a rhyming embroidery of The House That Jack Built in an Alaskan setting.  Trammell’s cartoon-style illustrations of Moose’s animal building crew are just plain fun.


Cool Woods: A Trip Around the World’s Boreal Forest. Drake, Jane and Ann Love. Illustrated by Andrew Kiss. Tundra Books, 2003. Grades 5-8. An informational book that includes Alaska’s interior boreal forest and depicts the flora and fauna as well as human activity with detailed paintings as well as black-and-white sketches.


Dancing at the Odinochka.  Hill, Kirkpatrick. Margaret K. McElderry, 2005. Grades 5-9. Hill bases her novel on a diary fragment of a family relative and creates an interesting view of life at an interior Alaska Russian trading post.  Through the eyes of a young girl we see the impact of the change of what is now Alaska from Russian to U.S. ownership.


Diamond Willow. Frost, Helen. Frances Foster Books. 2008. Grades 6-8. This book tells a story of a twelve-year-old girl living in a fictional town in the interior of Alaska. The character in the story connects to what most girls think and feel their pre-teen and teen years. An interesting aspect in the book is that the author uses diamond-shaped poems inspired by polished diamond willow sticks to tell the story of the character and her family.


Do Not Pass Go. Hill, Kirkpatrick. Margaret K. McElderry, 2007.  Grades 4-9.  Set in Fairbanks, this new tween novel, depicts young Deet, whose world changes when his father goes to jail.  This novel will be of interest to kids who may be in the same boat.  With the growing incarcerated population in the U.S. and Alaska, more and more students face this experience. 


Douggie: The Playful Pup Who Became A Sled Dog Hero. Flowers, Pam.  Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle. Alaska Northwest, 2008.  PreK – 3.  The true story of one of Pam Flowers’ sled dogs who was a lead on her 325-mile expedition to the magnetic North Pole.  This picture books is a story of determination with a touch of high Arctic adventure.  Let’s just say that a polar bear is involved.


Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe: Four Alaskan Ravens. Avril Johannes and Jan Branham. Illustrated by Tessama C. Icicle Falls Publishing. 2004. All ages, This is a true story that talks about four ravens, named Eeny, Meeny, Miney, and Moe, and their mischievous antics. The author took care of the rescued ravens until they were able to fly and be on their own. There are colorful illustrations and the book also presents some actual photos taken of the ravens when they were babies and when they were adult birds. The endpapers include facts about ravens and the author’s observations of the ravens while they lived with her.


Eight Stars of Gold: The Story of Alaska’s Flag. Spartz, India. Alaska State Museums Traveling Exhibitions Program, 2001. Grades 4-6. More than a catalog for a State Museum exhibition, this 24-page book documents Benny Benson’s achievement and even shows some entries by other children who submitted entries in the 1927 flag design competition.  See what Alaska’s flag might have been and see Benny’s alternate design. Historical photos are well used to illustrate the story.


Enticed by Gold. DeVries, Douglas. Jade Ram Publishing, 2003.  Grades 6-8. This historical novel based on the founding of Fairbanks is the third in a trilogy about Sven Olafsen’s search for his father in Alaska at the turn of the last century.  The first two titles are Gold Rush Runaway and Fevering for Gold.


Far North In the Arctic: Counting Alaska’s Animals. Hansen, Cory Cooper. Illustrated by Kathryn Kunz Finney. Sasquatch/Paws IV, 2004. Preschool-Primary. The text of this picture book is a Bering Sea take off on “Over in the Meadow,”  but in the bold strokes of Finney’s illustrations that will attract people of all ages, as northern animals bask in the special northern glow of Arctic twilight.


Finding Alaska: The Life and Art of Shannon Cartwright. Cartwright, Shannon. Greatland Graphics 2009. All Ages. This book tells the life of Shannon Cartwright, a children’s book illustrator, who has lived in Alaska for over thirty years. She describes her life and shows some of her artwork that is found in many famous Alaskan children’s books.


Free Radical. Murphy, Claire Rudolf. Clarion, 2002 Grades 9-12.  A novel for young adults that begins when 15-year old Luke McHenfy finds that his determination to be a Fairbanks baseball star is disrupted by a shocking revelation by his mother.


The Giant Cabbage: An Alaska Folktale. Stihler, Cherie. Illustrated by Jeremiah Tramwell. Sasquatch/Paws IV, 2003. Preschool-Primary. This is a modern “folk tale” that features a hungry, overalls-wearing moose who needs help getting a giant cabbage to a fair that might just look familiar to folks in the Tanana Valley.  It is loosely based on the Russian tale of the giant turnip.


Gold Rush Dogs.  Murphy, Claire Rudolf, and Jane G. Haigh. Alaska Northwest, 2001.    All ages. Illustrated with historical black and white photos and based on intrepid historical research, this is title no dog-loving Alaskan child or adult will want to miss. Study guide: http://www.gacpc.com/images/sg_rushdog.pdf


Gold Rush Winter. Murphy, Claire Rudolf. Illustrated by Richard Waldrep. Golden Books, 2002. Grades 2-4. Based on the early life of the author of Daughter of the Gold Rush, this first chapter book is part of the “Road to Reading” series and tells what it was like for young Klondy Nelson to live in an interior mining camp.


Great Serum Race: Blazing the Iditarod Trail. Miller, Debbie S.  Illustrations by Jon Van Zyle. Walker, 2002. All ages.  The story of the 1925 race to save the residents of Nome from disaster during a diphtheria outbreak is a story all Alaskans know, but this telling in pictures and words will bring history alive.


How Raven Stole the Sun. Williams, Maria. Illustrated by Felix Vigil. Abbeville Press Publishers. 2001. All Ages. A Tlingit tale of how raven stole the sun, stars, and moon and released them into the sky. It is a very popular story in Alaska and varies among different cultures. The illustrations are beautiful and bring the story to life.


Hungry Giant of the Tundra. Sloat, Teri. Alaska Northwest, 2001  All Ages. A smelly, giant from northern folklore, Akaguagankak, arrives one day on the western tundra when children fail to listen to their parent’s warnings not to stay out too late.  A teacher’s guide is available at: http://www.gacpc.com/gacpc/images/Hungry_Giant_studyguide.pdf


The Iditarod: Story of the Last Great Race. Young, Ian. Capstone Curriculum Publishing, 2003. Grades 2-4 Color photos, a map, and a musher’s list illustrate this title in the High Five Reading series.  This is meant for school use and includes a glossary, timeline, and index.


In the Company of Moose. Van Ballenberghe, Victor. Stackpole, 2004. Grades 7-12.  This is one biologist’s tribute to the animals he has spent a career observing.  His photographs will make this book useful in elementary schools for a teacher’s resource even though the text is intended for an older or adult audience.


Klondike Gold. Provensen, Alice. Simon & Schuster, 2006. All ages. Provensen’s hallmark style makes this large format picture book a handsome addition to the literature of the northern gold rush.  She creates a narrative based on the lives of real gold seekers and uses an interesting three-part design to tell her story and to give important background information.


Kumak’s House: A Tale of the Far North. Bania, Michael. Alaska Northwest, 2002. Preschool-Primary. An Arctic version of an old Eastern European folktale.  A crowded house seems roomy after a host of large and small Alaskan animals leave. Also Kumak’s Fish 2004


The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish. Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin 2001. $15.00 Grades 3 and up.  The author consulted Barrow residents to retell in picture book format the story of the ill-fated ship, the Karluk. The scratchboard illustrations are good way to tell this true story, which has been told in several versions for adults including most recently The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven Few survival stories are more harrowing, and the skills of an Inupiaq family make all the difference to the survivors.


Little Red Snapperhood: A Fish Fairy Tale. Gilbertsen, Neal. Illustrated by Evon Zerbetz. Westwinds, 2003. Grades PreSchool – 4. With a silly rhyming verse and even sillier block print illustrations in brilliant colors, a well-known story is told once again with a saucy young snapper fish as the heroine.


Looking for Seabirds: Journal from an Alaskan Voyage. Webb, Sophie. Houghton Mifflin. 2004. Grades 5-8 An award-winning nature writer documents her trip aboard a research vessel as it travels from Seward out along the Aleutian chain. The seabirds that she is studying are documented in words and attractive watercolors.


Meet Lydia: A Native Girl from Southeast Alaska. Belarde-Lewis, Miranda. Photographs by John Harrington. Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian/ Council Oak Books, 2003.  Grades 3-5.  The author of mixed Tlingit/Zuni heritage introduces her 10 year-old cousin, Lydia who divides time between Juneau, Hoonah, and Excursion Inlet in Southeast Alaska.  The emphasis here is on modern life, but with plenty of cultural and traditional elements mixed in.  The book has substantial text, but the attractive scrapbook format and the variety of photographs of everyday life will draw in young readers.


Mikelnguut Yuarutait Yugcetun / Yup’ik Children’s Songs.  Alaska Native Language Center [Fairbanks, AK], 2006.  All ages.  A book and accompanying CD present Yup’ik children’s songs originall collected by Irene Iitaruaq Reed, Sophie Aangaarraaq Shield, and Ester Nuqaq’aq Green in the 1970’s.   The songs are both traditional ones and Yup’ik versions of familiar Western children’s songs as well as the Alaska Flag Song .  The book provides  introductions by Walkie Charles and Steve Jacobson and also English translations of the songs.


Minuk: Ashes in the Pathway. Hill, Kirkpatrick. Pleasant Company, 2002. Grades 6-12.  This novel about a Yup’ik village in 1890 combines humor and extreme sorrow as Minuk faces the coming of womanhood while her village on the Upper Kuskokwim meets a new culture and the devastation of an unknown disease.


Neeluk: An Eskimo Boy in the Days of the Whaling Ships. Kittredge, Frances. Illustrated by Howard “Weyahok” Rock. Alaska Northwest, 2001. Grades 3-6.  Written by a woman who visited the village of Wales at the turn of the last century, she and famous Alaskan artist and activist Howard “Weyahok” Rock tell simple stories of a young boy in the days of commercial whaling.  Study guide: http://www.gacpc.com/images/neeluk.pdf


Norman Tuttle on the Last Frontier: A Novel in Stories. Bodett, Tom. Knopf, 2004. Grades 7-12.  A series of short stories inflected with Bodett humor and a touch of the bittersweet form the narrative of Norman’s coming of age in Homer and points south.


Northern Lights. Dwyer, Mindy. Published by Sasquatch Books. 2007. Grades 3-5. The author does a wonderful job sharing the different beliefs of several cultures and myths about the Aurora Borealis as well as an explanation from science.  Different stories from A-Z about the Aurora Borealis are also explained. This book is wonderfully illustrated with full pages of beautiful colors to mesmerize the reader.


One Wing’s Gift: Rescuing Alaska’s Wild Birds. Harris, Joan. Alaska Northwest, 2002. Grades 6-12. Birds who have been rescued by the Anchorage Bird Treatment and Learning Center are portrayed in words and incredibly fine drawings.


Pete Puffin’s Wild Ride Cruising the Alaska Currents. Hatton, Libby. Alaska Geographic. 2008. Grades K-4. This fascinating story is about a boy’s wooden toy, Pete Puffin, who falls overboard on an Alaskan cruise. The story tells about Pete Puffin’s adventures in the open sea. It also teaches about the currents, storms and sea creatures in the oceans. This book has fun post cards that are written from the boy to his grandfather, who carved Pete, telling the interesting facts he’s learning on the cruise. We wonder if he will ever see Pete again.


Qayaqs & Canoes: Native Ways of Knowing.  Steinbright, Jan. Photographs by Clark James Mishler. Alaska Native Heritage Center, 2001.  Grades 9-12, younger for the pictures.  The Alaska Native Heritage Center produced a living exhibit of craft people from Alaska’s major cultures producing the traditional watercraft of their cultures.  This book and a videotape document the dynamic exhibit.


Raven House Mouse. Steinbright, Jan. Illustrations by Robert Davis. Winternights Publishing. 2007. Grades Kindergarten and up. This heart-felt story is about an orphaned mouse who wants nothing more than to be a part of a family. The illustrations were done by Tlingit artist, Robert Davis. The artist does a great job bringing the Tlingit art to life in this story. The illustrations are a combination of colored pencils and markers. A Tlingit glossary in the back of the book is very useful for explaining Tlingit words. .


Recess at Twenty Below. Aillaud, Cindy Lou. Alaska Northwest, 2005.  Grades K-4. A Delta educator has created a fun and attractively designed book on enjoying school recess in the middle of an Interior Alaska winter.  Even students in Alaska's "banana belts" will smile when they see their fellow students suiting up for winter recess, and all Alaskans will identify with the photograph of the large tangle of coats and boots that allows outdoor play at 20 below.  The color photographs of actual Delta students are eye-catching.


Runaways on the Inside Passage. Upton, Joe. Alaska Northwest, 2002 Grades 7-9.  This novel will appeal to the action-adventure readers in its account of 13-year-old twins as they search for their father on a long and dangerous voyage between Seattle and Alaska.


Science Under Sail: Russia’s Great Voyages to America 1728-1867. Smith, Barbara Sweetland. Anchorage Museum of History and Art, 2000. Grades 6-12 A catalog for an Y2K exhibit, this title gives a view of the scientific aspects of Russians in Russian America and is valuable for the historical drawings of peoples and places along Alaska’s coast, the photos of Alaskan artifacts and navigational instruments, and brief profiles of voyagers whose names now grace our state’s map: Bering, Golovnin, Kotzebue.


Seasons of Land and Life: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Banerjee, Subhankar.  Mountaineers Press, 2003. Grades 9-12.  This large photographic book with accompanying essays by eminent environmentalists would be a resource in a high school where current events and controversies are part of the curriculum.


Seldovia Sam and the Very Large Clam. Springer, Susan Woodward. Illustrated by Amy Meissner. Alaska Northwest, 2003 Grades 2-3. Clam digging with his father, Sam gets stranded on a small island while searching for the biggest clam he can find. Others in the series are Seldovia Sam and the Sea Otter Rescue, Seldovia Sam and the Wildfire Escape and


Seldovia Sam and the Blueberry Bear (2005), this easy chapter book tells of Sam’s misadventures in stories that will ring true to coastal kids.


Sled Dogs of Denali National Park. Karen Fortier. Alaska Geographic. 2002. All Ages. Spotlighting the sled dogs of Denali National Park, this book covers many aspects of sled dogs, from breeding to training lead dogs. The book has very colorful photographs, glossary, a map of the Denali Park area, and other resources for information.


Sled Dogs Run. London, Jonathan. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle. Walker, 2005. PreK-2. A simple text and trademark Van Zyle illustrations show the freedom and joy of dog mushing.  Endpapers show the sled parts and equipment.


Sitka Rose. Gill, Shelley.  Illustrated by Shannon Cartwright. Charlesbridge, 2005. Grades 1-4.  A tall tale in rhyme.  Rose is responsible for many of the North’s natural wonders including the Yukon River and mountains formed out of her mining adventures. She joins a gang of 10 wolverines and a grizzly for a dance every time the northern lights glow.


Solo Flite: An Alaska Puppy Becomes a Legend. Schlegelmilch, Marianne. Illustrated by David W. Large Jr. Blood Bank of Alaska, 2002. K-4  A picture book to benefit the Blood Bank of Alaska, it tells the story of how a puppy of the late Joe Redington survived a plane crash and went on to become an Iditarod hero.


Squeak: An Alaskan Squirrel. Avril Johannes and Jan Branham. Illustrated by Tessama C. Icicle Falls Publishing Co. 2001. Preschool-Grade 3. A book about a squirrel named Squeak who lived in the author’s home near Fairbanks with his mom, brothers and sisters. The illustrations are very attractive and work well with the story about Squeak.


Ten Rowdy Ravens.  Ewing, Susan illustrated by Evon Zerbetz. Alaska Northwest, 2005.  All ages.  Wowy-zowy! This raven counting book is full of color and action as ravens cavort in their ever-so-raven antics.  This book is as clever as the birds themselves and, while the rhyming count-down of ravens will appeal to younger readers and listeners, older students and adults will chuckle at the end of the book while reading the "Corvid News," which is billed as "True News from Around the Raven World."  This material is actual newspaper and journal accounts of ravens caught in the act of being raven.  Zerbetz has lots of fun with this--down to the very last page and endpapers, which you'll have to see to admire. Study guide: http://www.gacpc.com/images/Ten%20Rowdy%20Ravens%20Study%20Guide.pdf



Togo. Blake, Robert. Philomel, 2002.  All ages.  Blake paints a portrait of the heroic serum run dog in oils and in words that shows that “the hero is not always the dog who crosses the finish line first, but, as in this case, the dog who made the last lap even possible.”


Tulugaglu Natchiglu/The Raven and the Seal. Akootchook, Lillian. Illustrated by Bud Root. North Slope School District/Tuzzy Consortium Library/Native Village of Barrow/Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2002. (Not for commercial purchase; available through Inupiat Language Program, North Slope School District, Box 169, Barrow, AK 99723) K-6. A traditional story from northern Alaska about the Raven the Trickster in a vomiting competition with Seal.  Text in Iñupiaq and English. [Not found on WorldCat.]


Tulunigraq/Ancestral Stories of a Time Before the Land Was Divided. Frankson, Ernie. Illustrated by Bud Root. North Slope School District/Tuzzy Consortium Library/Native Village of Barrow/Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2002. (Not for commercial purchase; available through Inupiat Language Program, North Slope School District, Box 169, Barrow, AK 99723) Grades 3-4.  Traditional stories of a Raven boy of northern Alaska.  The main text is in Iñupiaq with a translation in English.  The black and white illustrations are in a stylized graphic mode. [Not found on WorldCat.]


Turnagain Ptarmigan! Where Did You Go?  Guenther, James. Illlustrated by Shannon Cartwright. Sasquatch/Paws IV, 2000. Preschool – Grade 2. Up close and personal with the Alaska State bird, Guenther and Cartwright bring early readers a rhyming portrait of the ptarmigan through the seasons. Compare this title to Gone Again, Ptarmigan by Jonathon London and Jon VanZyle (National Geographic, 2001), for a slightly older elementary audience.


Under Alaska’s Midnight Sun. Vanasse, Deb. Illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell. Sasquatch/Paws IV, 2005. Preschool – Grade 2.  A girl celebrates one of the gifts of an Alaska summer, the midnight sun of the solstice.  The landscape has touches of several areas of Alaska, and the family celebration of the long days of summer will ring a bell with many young readers and listeners.


Up on Denali: Alaska’s Wild Mountain. Gill, Shelley. Illustrated by Shannon Cartwright. Sasquatch/Paws IV, 2006. All ages. The geology, Athabaskan oral tradition,  and natural history of Alaska’s beacon mountain are all found in  the text, sidebars, and elaborated bordered illustrations that accompany Gill’s rhyming ode to Denali. This team always find fresh new ways to show off Alaska.


Whale Snow. Edwardson, Debby Dahl. Illustrated by Annie Patterson. Charlesbridge/TaleWinds, 2003.  All ages.  A Barrow resident tells a story a young boy who learns from his elders and celebrates with his village when Papa’s whaling crew brings in a whale.  Also available in Inupiaq as Uqsruagnaq at the publisher’s web site:  http://www.charlesbridge.com/msp/files/id/10945 and as a 2004 Inupiaq paperback edition.


Whaling Season: A Year in the Life of an Arctic Whale Scientist. Lourie, Peter. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2009. Grades 4-8. Following the year in the life of Arctic Whale Scientist, Craig George in Barrow, AK, this book gives fascinating information on the Inupiaq culture in Barrow. It is filled with color photographs and maps, as well as a diagram of a bowhead whale. It also includes an index, glossary, as well as an Inupiaq glossary, and resources on books and websites of interest.


What’s a Shrew to You? Shields, Mary. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle. Pyrola Publishing. 2008. Preschool-K. The author of this book captivates the young reader by using rhymes and shares tips for the reader on understanding their wild neighbors.


Wiggle-Waggle Woof! Counting Sled Dogs in Alaska. Stihler, Cherie B. Illustrations by Michael Bania. Sasquatch Books. 2009. Ages 3-7. This is a fun book that teaches young readers how to count using sled-dogs while also teaching dog-mushing terms. There is also additional information on dog-mushing in the endpapers.


Wild Critters. Jones, Tim. Photography by Tom Walker. Epicenter Press. 2007. This is a book of poetry made about Alaskan animals. Adorable photographs of the animals fit well with the quirkiness of the poetry. It is directed toward children and adults alike.


Wind-Wild Dog. Joosse, Barbara. Illustrated by Kate Kiesler. Henry Holt, 2006.Preschool – Grade 3.   The author of Mama, Do You Love Me writes a book from the point of a young sled pup that has a more pacific encounter with a wolf than one might expect, but the oil paintings  by Keisler capture the atmosphere of a musher’s compound in an Alaska winter. The author’s notes offer a few explanations of musher and dog terminology.


Winter Walk. Cox, Loretta Outwater. Alaska Northwest, 2003 $18.95 Grades 7-12. Cox tells a century-old story of her great-grandmother in her heroic and tragic trek along the Bering Sea coast. Study guide: http://www.gacpc.com/images/winter_walk.PDF


Winter Is. Dixon, Ann. Illustrated by Mindy Dwyer. Alaska Northwest, 2002. ppr. Preschool-Primary.  The poetry of winter is clear and bright in Dixon’s words and Dwyer’s winter scenes. Study guide: http://www.gacpc.com/images/winteris_sg.pdf





Alaska 67: A Guide to Alaska’s Best History Books. Compiled by the Alaska Historical Society. Hardscratch Press, 2006. Grades 7 -12.  Some of Alaska’s most expert historians and librarians have produced a list of the 67 most important  books on our state’s history.


Alaska Almanac.  Alaska Northwest Books.  annual. Grades 4-12. Miscellaneous information on Alaska arranged in dictionary format with brief entries. (Sometimes called Facts about Alaska: The Alaska Almanac.).


Alaska in Maps. Majorie Hermans. Alaska Geographic, 2003 (spiral bound) Grades 4-12.


Alaska Native Ways: What the Elders Have Taught Us. Will Mayo and others. Photographs by Roy Corral. Graphic Arts Publishing, 2002. A valuable resource for both reference and checking out to students and teachers.  Diana Campbell (Athabascan), Walkie Charles (Yup’ik), Ruthie Lee Tatqavin Ramoth-Sampson (Inupiat), Philip Kelly (Aleut), Nora Marks Dauenhauer (Tlingit), Sven Haakanson, Jr. (Alutiiq), David Boxley (Tsimishian), George Noongwook (Siberian Yupik), Jeane Breinig (Haida), and Dune Lankard (Eyak) write about Alaska’s major cultures from the inside while photographer Corral has produced lavish photographs that give witness to Alaska’s human and geographic diversity.


Alaska Wilderness Guide. 8th ed.  Morris Communications, 2001 Grades 7-12. A complete guide to 250 remote towns and villages as well as 45 state and national parks and refuges in Alaska.   “How to get there—where to stay—what to do”.   Arranged by region. Formerly called the “Wilderness Milepost.”


Alaska, An American Colony. Stephen Haycox. University of Washington Press, 2002. Grades 9-12. This is the most recent history of Alaska and is strong in its over- view of recent history and politics in Alaska. Written as a college text, it will be a good resource for high school collections as well.


Arctic Winter Games: An Exhibition Organized & Traveled by the Alaska State Museum. Smith, George V. Alaska State Museum. 2006. The author gives a detailed overview of the Arctic Winter Games. The sections of the book include: History, Contingents, Organization of the Games, Athletic Competition, Inuit and Dene Sports, Celebrating Culture, The Art of the Games, Pin Trading: the 21st Sport, Capturing the Excitement, The Spirit of the Arctic Winter Games and the results of the past games in chronological order. There are also several great photographs throughout the book. This book would be suitable for middle to high school students.


Eskimo Architecture : Dwelling and Structure in the Early Historic Period. Molly Lee and Gergory A. Reinhardt. University of Alaska Press. Grades 7-12 This attractively designed comprehensive work, although scholarly, is accessible to middle and high school students who are researching Alaskan cultures.  The historical photographs and diagrams that appear on almost every page will capture the interest of anyone curious about survival skills of  first Alaskans.


Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska. Wynne, Kate. Illustrated by Pieter Folkens. 2007. Full of very detailed descriptions about the marine mammals swimming in the Alaskan waters. This guide also shows where these animals can be found, as well as photographs of our aquatic neighbors.


Guide to the Birds of Alaska. Armstrong, Robert H.. 5th Ed. Alaska Northwest, 2008.  Grades 5 – 12. This standard guide to Alaska’s birds has been completely updated and expanded since its last edition in 1995.


Ice Bears. Guiberson, Brenda Z. Illustrated by Ilya Spirin. Henry Holt and Company. 2008. All ages. This appealingly illustrated book tells a story of a mother polar bear and her two cubs’ survival in the Arctic. It aims to explain the melting sea ice and how it’s vital for polar bears’ survival. In the end of the book there is an “Arctic Ice Report” as well as a list of organizations that are working to help the environment.


Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska. Edited by Aron L. Crowell, Rosita Worl, Paul C. Ongtooguk, and Dawn D. Biddison. Smithsonian Books. 2010. All ages. This book shows how each Alaska Native nation is unique and how they are all connected. It also presents more than 200 objects representing the artistry of twenty Alaska Native peoples. Other impressive features included are narratives told from the perspective of several Alaska Natives from each group.


Na’Eda (Our Friends): A Guide to Alaska Native Corporations, Tribes, Cultures, ANCSA and More. Alexandra McLanahan and Hallie L. Bissett. CIRI Foundation 2002.Grades 4-12. Included in this small book are an overview of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, listings of Native corporations, village corporations, traditional councils/IRAs as well as cultural centers and museums.


Our Story: Readings from Southwest Alaska. Edited by John Branson and Tim Troll. Second Edition. Alaska Natural History Association. 2006. High school to adult. This is an anthology of writings that share the historical stories about Bristol Bay Region of Alaska. Its purpose was to provide historical information for teachers and students living in this region. It contains several black and white photos of the people living in the area. There are several maps on the Native corporations, boroughs and communities, and tribal areas and villages present at the time of contact (around 1818). It also provides a table of contents, glossary and index which are very useful if you are trying to look for a specific topic.


A Reference in Time: Alaska Native History Day by Day, edited by Alexandra J. McClanahan. CIRI Foundation, 2001. Grades 4-12. A valuable tool for remembering and learning about the history of Alaska Native peoples.


Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment Upside Down by Kaylene Johnson. Epicenter Press, 2008.  Grades 6-12.  Although not written for you people, this portrait of Alaska’s first woman governor written by one her neighbors is written in simple language that will be accessible to most older students. An appendix includes the text of Palin’s inaugural speech. Color photographs show the Heath and Palin family life.


Scats and Tracks of Alaska, Including the Yukon and British Columbia: A Field Guide to the Signs of Sixty-Nine Wildlife Species. Halfpenny, James C. Illustrated by Todd Telander. 2007. This guide has easy reference descriptions with measurements, detailed illustrations of scats, tracks and gait patterns, an identification key and glossary of tracking terms, a map on where the animals are usually found, and complete instructions for documenting your finds. This is a very handy book to own if you enjoy tracking, trapping, and hunting or for general interest.


Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest: A Field Guide. Harbo, Rick. Harbor, 1999. Grades 9-Adult. Teacher Resource.  Released since 2000 in the United States by Alaska Northwest, this Canadian title covers much of the marine life of Alaska’s southeastern and, in some cases, southern coast.


Other Northern Titles


Adding Arctic Animals. Bauer, David. Capstone, 2004. Grades K-1. A Yellow Umbrella series early reader, this book puts basic arithmetic in an Arctic setting by asking your readers to add northern animals across double-page spreads.


The Animal in Me is Very Plain to See. Tye, Laurie. Photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen. West Winds Press, 2005. Preschool-Grade 2 World-class photographer Mangelsen provides eye-grabbing shots of mostly northern animals in this concept book based on the pattern, “When I am hungry, I am like a great grizzly bear with my mouth wide open.” The attractively designed book will attract readers and pre-readers, too.


Arctic Winter, Arctic Summer.  Canizares, Susan and Daniel Moreton Scholastic, 1998. Grades K-1.  Part of the Science Emergent Readers series, these one word or one short sentence pages are illustrated with clear pictures of the Arctic and sub-Arctic environment.  Also in the series:  The Northern Lights, Who Lives in the Arctic?


Baby Sea Otter. Tatham, Betty. Illustrated by Joan Paley. Henry Holt, 2005. Grades K-3. Textured and handpainted paper collages illustrate this picturebook account of the life of a young sea otter.


Flying Mosquitoes. Piehl, Janet. Lerner Publications Company. 2007. Grade 1. This is a great book for younger readers. The writing is easy to read and understand. There are several very good photos and also a glossary for the terms in the end pages.


Let’s Explore, Moose! Text by Audrey Fraggalosch. Illustrations by Crista Forest. Trudy Corporation. 2007. Grade Level 1. This book tells the story of a baby moose and how he grows into a young bull moose. The book has brilliant illustrations and has bold words with the meaning of the words in the glossary. The book has “Wilderness Facts About the Moose” as well as a list of other animals that live in the Canadian boreal forest.


Life in the Far North. Kalman, Bobbie and Rebecca Sjonger. Crabtree, 2004. Grades 4-8..  A survey of the life of the Inuit/Inupiat people in the western hemisphere Arctic.


Living in the Arctic.  Fowler, Allan. Children’s Press, 2000. Grades 1-3. From the Rookie Read-about-Geography series, these show in photos and text some aspects of Arctic, although not particularly Alaskan, life. The writers are not Alaskan, but there are very few books at this reading level that touch on the northern environment.  Also in the series: Living in the Tundra by Donna Loughran, Alaska by Su Tien Wong, All Along the River by Allan Fowler.


Mosquito Bite. Siy, Alexandra. Electron microscopy by Dennis Kunkel, Charlesbridge, 2005.  Grades 2-6. Although not set in the far north and a bit text-heavy, the combination of black-and-white photographs of children playing outdoors, where mosquitoes are ready to feed, and the color microphotographs of the mosquito, blood, and insect and human body parts will intrigue children who have grown up donating blood to perpetuate various species of mosquitoes. A clever touch is the endpapers, which are photographs of screening!


Octopuses. Markle, Sandra. Lerner Publications Company. 2007. All ages. This book gives an overview of the life of octopuses living as prey, as well as predators, in the Pacific Ocean. Colorful photographs and explanations of what is happening in the photographs will keep the reader interested and wanting to know more about octopuses.


Pacific Halibut: Flat or Fiction? Sadorus, Lauri. Illustrated by Birgit Soderlund. International Pacific Halibut Commission, 2006 (PO Box 95009, Seattle, WA 98145-2009, http://www.iphc.washington.edu  Grades 3-6.  The cartoon-style illustrations make this fact-packed exploration of all things halibut, including some information about the international Halibut Commission itself, entertaining and educational.


Polar Bear Math: Learning Fractions From Klondike and Snow. Ann Whitehead Nagda and Cindy Bickel. Scholastic Inc. 2004. Grades 3-6. Learning to do fractions may be a challenge for some children, but this book helps understand fractions using real-life examples from the life of the two abandoned polar bears, Klondike and Snow. Not only does it talk about fractions, but tells the story of how the two bears were raised by people. There are also great photographs of the two lovable polar bears.


Polar Bears. Cotton, Jacqueline S. Lerners Publications Company. 2004. Grades 1-2. This book is all about polar bears. The author uses words that will help the children’s vocabulary as they are learning about the polar bears. It has a map that shows where polar bears live, a diagram of the parts of a polar bear, a glossary and index. The book provides vivid photographs that fit well with the text in the book.


Polar Explorers for Kids : Historic Expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic with 21 Activities. Snowden, Maxine. Chicago Review Press, 2004.  . Grades 4 – 8. Although none of the figures in this cast of polar explorers are depicted on Alaskan explorations (including Cook, who is in the Antarctic section), the stories of the struggles of these explorers are always of interest to kids, but the activities which range from Blowing Soap Bubbles into the Very Cold, Building a Snow Cave, Make a Cross-Staff to Measure Latitude, How Wet is Snow, to Create an Edible Map of Antarctica will be of interest both in the classroom and at home.


Porcupines: Animal Prey. Markle, Sandra. Lerner Publications Company. 2007. All Ages. A story of what a typical porcupine goes through on its journey for survival. The book also has captivating pictures of the adorable porcupine and it’s young. As well as the story of its survival, it also covers interesting information on the location, diet, quills, and habitat of the porcupine. A glossary, index and more information on other books and websites are also provided.


Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales. Drake, Jane and Ann Love.  Illustrated by Mark Thurman. Tundra, 2004.Grades 3-6.  This Canadian publication will capture kids’ interest with its great cover photo of an owl nestled in snow and will provide adults and children with lots of interesting facts and northern tales about our constant winter companion, snow.


Snow Plows. Zuehlke, Jeffrey. Lerner Publications Company. 2007. Grades 2-3. You don’t see many books on snow plows for children. This book will satisfy the curiosity of those children who want to know more about snow plows. There are several photos that fit well with the text. Facts about snowplows as well as a glossary, index, resource page and a page showing the parts of a snowplow can be found in the book as well.              


Snowy Owls: Whoo Are They? Ansley Watson Ford and Denver W. Holt. Illustrated by Jennifer White Bohman. Mountain Press Publishing Company. 2008. Ages 8 and up. This book explains everything anyone needs to know about snowy owls. There are interesting facts on some pages and other pages direct you to the pages to find games or activities to do. An illustration that identifies the different parts of the owl’s body, a glossary and an index are also featured in here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Wolverines. Markle, Sandra. (Animal Scavengers series) Lerner, 2005. Grades 2 – 6. (All ages for photographs) At last!  A children’s book in picture book format about one of Alaska’s most illusive mammals.





Alaskana web resources for all ages, including the Alaska Digital Archive, are collected on SLED at: http://sled.alaska.edu


For a rich source of pre-2000 children’s titles on Alaska, see A Bibliography of Children's Literature of Alaska and the North. Spangler, K. L University of Alaska Southeast, 2001, o.p.



For a critical view of an often-listed northern title for young people from a Native Alaskan perspective, read Martha Stackhouse’s review of Julie of the Wolves in Sharing Our Pathways:  A Newsletter of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative  (Vol. 9, #5, November – December, 2004), which is viewable at: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/sop/SOPv9i5.pdf 


To read more reviews written from a Alaska Native point of view, visit the Honoring Alaska’s Indigenous Literature (HAIL) web page: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/IKS/HAIL/index.html


Please feel free to print out this bibliography, but make certain that you credit the Alaska State Library if you distribute it to others.  This list is also available on the Alaska State Library web site at:  



Compiled and updated by Sue Sherif, Alaska State Library, sue.sherif@alaska.gov

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