Friday, May 29, 2009

Favorite "Alaska" Books

A little introduction. I'm told regularly that I don't know what "favorite" or "best" truly means as I can't narrow things down to just one. So here is my list. They are my favorites by my definition. Hope you enjoy them and if you have any to add please feel free! Thanks.

Childrens Books

Picture Books

Lucky Hares and Itchy Bears by Susan Ewing and Evon Zerbetz
This is a fun collection of poems about animals. They accurately describe the animals, the rhyming is fun. The illustrations are fantastic woodcuts--lots of color and detail. You'll see lots of Evon Zerbetz in this list. Not only is she an Alaskan artist--she manages to do some awesome books.

Little Red Snapperhood: A Fishy Fairy Tale by Neal W. Gilbertsen and Evon Zerbetz
Fun retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a red snapper as the main character. Lots of fun in the illustrations and the rhyming. In the end everyone becomes friends instead and shares an octu-pie. Again lots of color and detail--puns in the illustrations abound.

Ten Rowdy Ravens by Susan Ewing and Evon Zerbetz
This is a fun Raven counting book with fun facts at the end (including a recipe--not to make with ravens) I love the counting, the illustrations, the good information in a very fun format.

Alaska's Three Pigs by Arlene Laverde
This has become a favorite. Illustrations are fun lots of "YAM" cans in them. We have a rotting old cabin, a house built of willows and an igloo for houses. The brothers come north to homestead and grow big cabbages. In the end the bear (not the wolf) gets taken to where he will not thaw out for a very long time.

Blueberry Shoe by Ann Dixon and Evon Zerbetz
This is a fun story of what happens to a little one's shoe when it gets lost while blueberry picking. Simple illustrations and story line with lots of animals.

Berry Magic by Teri Sloat and Betty Huffmon

Fun story about how berries came to be. I love the berries and dolls in the illustrations.

O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Andrea Helman and Art Wolfe

Not exactly an "Alaska" book, but this list wouldn't be complete without an alphabet book. So far highest on my list of alphabet books with a Northwest theme. Lots of coastal animals and even a totem in the background of one of them so it has the Alaskan flair to it. (OK Northwest!)

The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish: Based on a True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Beth Krommes

You may have noticed that I like woodcuts quite a lot. This is illustrated with scratch board art that gives it a similar feel. It's based on a true story of a boat getting stuck in the Arctic in 1913. It's a bit on the long side for tiny ones, but it's well told and illustrated.

Goodbye, My Island by Jean Rogers and Rie Munoz
This is an older kids book. I like it because it documents the last time a little girl lives on King Island (in the 60's I believe). Not the most thrilling read, but interesting.


The Life Cycle of a Salmon by Bobbie Kalman and Rebecca Sjonger
Growing up I can't tell you the number of time I learned the life cycle of the salmon--it's nostalgia for me what can I say? Darn interesting too. Lots of great photography. This is a children's book.

Alaska: A Land in Motion by Nancy Warren Ferrell

There's no picture on Amazon, but it's a great encyclopedia type book about Alaska. Accessible and informative. This is another children's level book, but fun for those of us who don't have a lot of time as well.

Adult this and that

Cooking Alaskan by Alaskans
A cookbook that includes things you'll be delighted to know and some things you'd rather skip. I love this book. I love flipping through it just for fun. Every animal and many plants that are available in Alaska are covered. Some you'd never dream of eating, some that might be intriguing to try. My favorite to read is a recipe for Stinky Fish--you bury fish heads--it's gross trust me. My favorite to use is the Availability Bread where you use what you have in a vegetable bread. There's Bachelor Bannock too where measurements are based on the size of your hand. I just love the flavor that it has of truly Alaskana. There are things you'd need to know if you were homesteading, hunting, etc. The recipes were gathered from an amazing number of sources.

Alaska Sourdough by Ruth Allman

This is all about sourdough. ALL about it. It was written (it's not "typeset" but truly written). It's another fun to read cookbook that's quite useful.

Ocean Treasure: Commericial Fishing in Alaska (Teacher Resources) (Teacher Resources) by Terry Johnson

This is hands down the best book about fish and commercial fishing that I have ever seen. It has great illustrations of the different types of boats and gear. It has great illustrations and pictures of all types of fish that are harvested in Alaskan waters. I can't say enough good about this book. Every single kid that has ever come into my house and discovered it can't get enough of it. It gets requested on return trips. It's easy to understand on a pictoral level and there's lots of good written info as well. This is NOT written for children, but they love it.

A Schoolteacher in Old Alaska: The Story of Hannah Breece by Hannah Breece
This is on my all time favorite list/shelf. This is a true story/journal. Authentic attitudes of the teacher, great writing, interesting adventures. I just love it. I highly recomment this one if you're looking for a good read.

The Inside Passage to Alaska by Art Wolfe

This is probably my favorite "Coffee Table" book. Art Wolfe is an amazing photographer and in this book you get all kinds of vantage points, up close at a dragonfly to distant dots of islands. You get animals, plants, the influence of people, totems, sunshine and fog. It really nicely covers the gamut. If you want to "see" cheaply this is the book will show you.

You made it! That's all there is. There isn't anymore.

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