Friday, October 18, 2013

The US Formally Takes Possession of Alaska

On this day in 1867, the United States formally took possession of Alaska. It didn't become a state until January 1959, but we're celebrating Alaska today with books that take place in, or are written by people from the Last Frontier.


My Name Is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson. Luke and his younger brother, Bunna and Isaac leave their Inupiaq village to go to Sacred Heart boarding school. Told in multiple voices of the brothers and some of the other students we see four years of life in the school. Edwardson lives in Barrow.

Amazing Grace by Megan Shull. Grace is a tennis star whose face is on every magazine, and she wants out. Starting over with a nose ring and a new name, Grace moves to a small village in Alaska to live a completely "normal" life, with her Aunt Ava, far away from tennis. Sadly, it looks like this one is now out-of-print-- it's worth tracking down at your library.

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter. After a brutal attack, Luce expects to die when she succumbs to the icy waters off the coast of Alaska. Instead, she transforms into a mermaid and finds a group of girls like her-- girls who suffered horribly on land and lost their humanity, becoming mermaids. But humanity is still above them, and they have voices that will lure the sailors to their doom, exacting their revenge. The first in a trilogy, follow it with Waking Storms.


Ghosts in the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska's WWII Invasion by Samantha Seiple. On June 7, 1942, Japan invaded Alaska. On June 10, 1942, the U.S. Navy denied that it happened. This terrifying book looks at a little known story of when Japan invaded the Aleutian islands and took many local villagers as POWs. The American Army then took the remaining Native residents to an internment camp "for their protection."

Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska by Michael D'Ourso. The Fort Yukon Eagles live 8 miles above the arctic circle, in a village that grapples with finding a balance between modern culture and their traditional way of life. This book follows them through the 2005 basketball season, starting with early practices and ending with the state championship. Published for adults, this story about high school players will appeal to teens.

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler. In 1897, 8 whaling ships were trapped in the ice off the coast of Alaska when winter came early. There were not enough provisions to get through the winter. President McKinley had a plan and sent three men to get them food-- they'd travel through the state and buy reindeer herds along the way, and herd the reindeer to where the men were stranded. Meanwhile, at the ships, morale and discipline were running just as low as the food.

What Would My Cell Phone Do? by Micol Ostow. Aggie just moved from Florida to Alaska and isn't adjusting well. She loses her cell phone and when trying to use the GPS function to track it online, she discovers her missing phone is leading a much better life than she is, so she has a new motto-- What Would My Cell Phone Do?

Who are your favorite Alaskan authors? What other books about Alaska would you recommend?

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