Here comes Charlie!

Watch for my new book!

Watch for my new book!

I’m excited by the prospect of introducing children to life in the Far North with my newest children’s book, due out at the end of this summer. Charlie and the Blanket Toss is about a fun-loving little boy living in Barrow, Alaska, along the Arctic Ocean. Charlie loves learning all about his Iñupiat heritage from his elders and teachers. And he can’t wait for the upcoming whaling festival that will feature dancing and drumming, plenty of good Native food, plus the traditional Blanket Toss. Charlie wants so badly to be tossed high into the air, too, but secretly he’s afraid. Will this be the year that he follows generations before him? Everybody else seems to think so, but he’s not so sure!

Readers, young and old, will learn the meaning and pronunciation of several Iñupiaq words in this warm story about family, tradition, and Native Alaskan culture. The wonderful illustrator is Sarah Martinsen, who lives and works in Barrow. We’re both very grateful to Fannie Akpik and Katherine Itta-Ahgeak, who were our guides in matters of Inupiat culture and history. (Thank you so much!)

I hope you love Charlie as much as we do! You can pre-order a book at your favorite bricks-and-mortar or online bookstore even now. And we’ll be doing some special events once the book is released. I’ll keep you posted!

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Iditarod Fever

A history in images

A history in images

Iditarod on KTUU-TV Anchorage

I’m so pleased that KTUU’s gave my new book some on-air time. They did such a wonderful job. So grateful!

Congratulations to Dallas Seavey, who won Iditarod 2014, one of the most grueling races in the books.

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Classroom Visits via Skype

I’m joining many teachers and guest speakers all across the country as we recognize the upcoming World Read-Aloud Day through “Skype in the Classroom.” I can’t wait to see how it’s going to go!

On Wednesday, February 26, I’ll be reading The Itchy Little Musk Ox to Ms. Oldham’s students at Willow Crest Elementary in Anchorage. We’re beginning a half-hour of reading and chatting at 9:15 a.m. Alaska time, so if your early elementary class elsewhere in the country would like to join us, it’s so easy! Please register for my lesson at https://education.skype.com/projects/7810-the-itchy-little-musk-ox-the-book-and-the-beast. It’ll be fun.

It’s all part of World Read-Aloud Day, with the Children’s Book Council and LitWorld, putting their resources behind the event, which is now it its fourth year. The actual Read-Aloud Day is Wednesday, March 5, and I’ll be visiting an Oregon classroom on that day.

Even if you don’t take part in a Skype lesson, if you have a special kid in your life, make sure to celebrate March 5 by sitting down with a book and then talking about it afterward.

And know that millions of others will be doing the same thing on that day.

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Just in Time for Iditarod 2014

A NEW BOOK

A NEW BOOK

I’m happy to announce the release of a new book! I’m a bit premature; it’s actually due out in early February, in time for fulfillment before the March 1 start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Many of you like my children’s books–watch for a new one on the shelves next summer, but this one, titled Iditarod, is for young adults and adult readers.

Arcadia Publishing specializes in photo-illustrated history books, and while Iditarod’s history is brief (1973 was the official first year), the history of mushing in Alaska goes back for centuries. The pictures inside are amazing.

Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King wrote the book’s Foreword, and I am grateful for the photo contributions from many mushers and fans who were involved in Iditarod’s early days. It’s also loaded with professional photography by Jeff Schultz, official photographer of the Iditarod, who’s been shooting the race for more than three decades. For more information on the race, including the route map and details of the Anchorage ceremonial start and the Willow, Alaska, restart, see www.iditarod.com.

I’ll be doing booksignings around Anchorage during the week preceding this year’s Iditarod start, so keep your eye on my calendar, and I hope to see you there! You may preorder copies online at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or at your favorite storefront bookstore.

ISBN-13: 9781467131049

6 1/2″ x 9 1/4″

128 pages

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Ready for a Dose of Reality?

New in November 2012!

Let’s just set aside the Alaskan reality shows for now. Yes, they’re entertaining, but sometimes the sustained hype is wearisome. Still we watch!

You want reality? Here’s the real deal: my newest book from Alaska Northwest Books, The Alaska Homesteader’s Handbook: Independent Living on the Last Frontier.

I partnered with Palmer, Alaska, resident Nancy Gates to interview forty-four Alaskans for this how-to book, so each “chapter” is a mini-profile coupled with a tip from that person for getting along in the wilderness. From tying useful knots, to putting in a winter waterhole through the river ice, to field-dressing your moose . . . you’ll be amazed at what these pioneers, old and young, have to teach! And all of the how-to segments are beautifully illustrated by Natalie Gates.

Build an outhouse, lay the perfect campfire, overwinter your chickens. What works on the Last Frontier will work in your neck of the woods. So take a lesson or two from these Alaskans. Get yourself a copy and buy one for each of your friends!

They’ll be in your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. Just ask for ISBN 978-0882408118.

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School’s Almost Over

Super librarian Diane Firmani and me

Super librarian Diane Firmani and me with kinders

TRAVELIN’ TRISH

I’ve had the busiest school year to date, with trips to the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and to Alaska. I visited public and private schools, as well as libraries and bookstores. Here’s where I’ve been this year:

MIDWEST: Winslow Elementary, Indiana; Alan Shepard Elementary, Illinois; Kankakee Valley Montessori School, Bourbonnais, Illinois; Limestone School, Kankakee, Illinois; Kankakee Public Library, Illinois.

SOUTHEAST ALASKA: Southeast Island School District schools—Hollis, Thorne Bay, Kasaan, Port Protection, Coffman, Naukati, Edna Bay, and Whale Pass; Craig Elementary, Craig; Craig Public Library, Craig; Hydaburg School, Hydaburg; Ketchikan Public Library in association with Parnassus Books, Ketchikan; Holy Name School, Ketchikan; Tongass School of the Arts and Sciences, Ketchikan; Point Higgins School, Ketchikan; Juneau Public Library; Riverbend Elementary, Juneau; Gastineau Elementary, Juneau.

ANCHORAGE: ReadAlaska Book & Craft Fair, Anchorage Museum; Police Navidad, Dena’ina Convention Center; Ocean View Elementary; Bear Valley Elementary; Aurora Elementary; Northern Lights Elementary, Bowman Elementary.

MAT-SU VALLEY: Shaw Elementary, Wasilla; Tanaina Elementary, Wasilla; Fred & Sara Machetanz Elementary, Wasilla

FAIRBANKS / NORTH POLE: Gulliver’s Books, Fairbanks; Santa Claus House, North Pole; Arctic Traveler’s Gift Shop, Fairbanks; Salcha School, Salcha; Weller Elementary, Fairbanks; Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library, Fairbanks; Barnes & Noble, Fairbanks; Cold Spot Feeds, Fairbanks.

OREGON: Boeckman Elementary, Wilsonville; Watts Elementary, Scappoose.

And more good news: I’ve recently learned that a favorite book of mine, GROUCHO’S EYEBROWS, has been named for the Alaska Battle of the Books 2012-13 reading list! That also means more opportunities to get out there and visit students next year. Start planning and let me know if you’d like me to visit your school or local library. Click on the School Visits tab for more info.

Groucho's Eyebrows--so cute!

Groucho's Eyebrows by a Watts Elementary artist!

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Back to Alaska!

A flurry of readings ahead!

A flurry of readings ahead!

ReadAlaska and Police Navidad on the horizon!

It seems I’ve just returned from Southeast, and I’m packing again to head back north. This time, I’ll be traveling to Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks, North Pole, and as far as little Salcha, Alaska.

First on the schedule is the annual READALASKA BOOK & CRAFT FAIR, a Thanksgiving holiday weekend tradition held at the Anchorage Museum for many years. On Nov. 25, 26, and 27, you’ll find me signing and selling my books at the Tricia Brown Books table upstairs in the atrium.

I’ll be joined by four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King, who’s selling his newly released second edition of Cold Hands, Warm Heart, a wonderful collection of his adventures on the trail (which I edited, by the way). He’s added three new stories to this expanded edition, along with dozens of new photos.

Another big event scheduled for Sat., Nov. 26, is POLICE NAVIDAD, a free, family-oriented gathering at Anchorage’s Dena’ina Center on 7th. There’s Breakfast with Santa, entertainment, games, food, and lots of kid activities. Jeff King and I will break away from ReadAlaska for a reading at Police Navidad. We’ll be on stage from 10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., so please make it a date!

Jeff and I also will be reading later that day (at 1 p.m.) at the Anchorage Museum auditorium. The Museum Gift Shop is hosting our reading and will supply lots of books for the signing that follows immediately after the reading.

In the weeks that follow, I’ll be visiting schools and libraries all along the railbelt. Click on “The Places I’m Headed” to see where we might be able to meet each other during my winter book tour! See you soon!

Debra Dubac illustration from Musher's Night Before Christmas

From Musher's Night Before Christmas; illustrated by Debra Dubac

Jeff King's latest book

Jeff King's new book!

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Spectacular Southeast Alaska!

Patsy Ann sculpture by Anna Burke Harris

Patsy Ann sculpture by Anna Burke Harris

Flying from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island
Flying from Ketchikan to Prince of Wales Island

With Maggie Freitag of Ketchikan's Parnassus Books

With Maggie Freitag of Ketchikan's Parnassus Books

A warm welcome from Thorne Bay

A warm welcome from Thorne Bay

Student art - well done!

Student art - well done!

Kasaan Elementary Haida totem carved by Stan Marsden

Kasaan Elementary Haida totem carved by Stan Marsden

Tongass National Forest from the air
Point Higgins School, Ketchikan

Point Higgins School, Ketchikan


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Touring Southeast Alaska


Designed by Patrick McDonegal, Juneau Public Libraries

Designed by Patrick McDonegal, Juneau Public Libraries

I’m traveling to Ketchikan, Prince of Wales Island, and onward to Juneau in the coming weeks, with a full schedule that includes visits to a dozen schools and libraries. I’m sure looking forward to it! Check “The Places I’m Headed” to see if our paths might cross. I had to show off this promotional poster for our event at the Juneau Library Public – Downtown. I love it. And, this is a rare opportunity to meet both the author and illustrator (Jim Fowler) of Patsy Ann of Alaska.

Next month, I’ll be touring schools, libraries, and bookstores in Anchorage, the Valley, Fairbanks, and North Pole. And let’s not forget ReadAlaska Book & Craft Fair at the Anchorage Museum—it’s during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Hope to see your there, too. Stay tuned!

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Here Comes Kate!

Sled dogs to the rescue!

Sled dogs to the rescue!

Rudolph’s nose light is worn out, and Nome, Alaska, the last stop on Santa’s round-the-world delivery run, is socked in with a bad snowstorm.
The good children of Nome must have their toys. But who will deliver?
Santa remembers a grown-up boy named Tom, a dog musher who lives on the Iditarod Trail. He alights on Tom’s roof to ask a favor: Could Tom and his team take it from here?
Here’s a brand-new book for Christmas 2011, featuring a clever dog musher and his team of champions. Up in lead position is Tom’s favorite, Kate. Come along on the wild Christmas Eve ride!
Fans of The Itchy Little Musk Ox will recognize the distinctive illustration style of Alaskan artist Debra Dubac, whose paintings breathe life into these characters.
I’ll be touring in Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, and Alaska this fall, reading this wonderful twist on the old classic. If you’d like me to visit your library, school, or bookstore, check out “The Places I’m Headed” and drop me a line!
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