Portia Polar Bear's Birthday Wish
By Margie K. Carroll, photography by Daniel J. Cox (Margie Carroll Press)
The blurb: This children's story coupled with photos of the arctic tells the story of Portia Polar Bear, who learns a regrettable bit of information from Fiona Fox that leads her on a mission of discovery.
Excerpt: "About one year ago I was a very lucky cub. My home was beautiful with long days in the summer and long nights in the winter. Many days were bright. Some days were blue. My life was perfect! I learned to slide on my back and my stomach!
"Yes, my life was perfect, until one spring day."
Qaluyaarmiuni Nunamtenek Qanemciput: Our Nelson Island Stories
Transcribed and translated by Alice Rearden, edited by Ann Fienup-Riordan (University of Washington Press)
The blurb: Subtitled "Meanings of Place on the Bering Sea Coast," Nelson Island elders describe hundreds of traditionally important places on the landscape, with stories providing context as to how people interacted with them in the past and continue to know them today.
Excerpt: "They say that Nelson Island was once evunret, ice. And the ice turned into land.
"Along the other side, the place where (Raven) chopped with his ice pick, the rocks on the (north) side look like they've been chopped with an ice pick. I think (Nelson Island) was really once covered by ice.
"And the one who was chopping the ice with his ice pick, when the tip of his ice pick broke, when he placed the broken part at the headwaters of Iqallugtuli River, this is what they say he said: 'In the distant future, when one of the descendants finds the piece that broke from my ice pick, they won't lack anything anymore.' It is probably some sort of wealth. That's all I can say about it."
Cold Climate Clips: An Alaskan Traveling Trainer's Essays, Observations, Anecdotes, and Children Stories
By Sharon Lattery (Publishing Consultants, $15.95)
The blurb: This compilation of essays on the subjects of growing up in Skagway and a career training teachers in rural Alaska towns and villages, the stories cover 30 years of travel between Southeast Alaska and the western arctic coast.
Excerpt: "There were a number of favorite communities I visited in the span of my career. But one that I really treasured was in Southeast. I loved going to Kake. The village is situated in a beautiful spot and one that provided protection from invasion in the distant past.
"There is no way anyone could sneak up on the people of Kake. The land around the sloping village is on higher ground almost completely surrounded by water. It is one of the most magnificent and perfectly placed communities in Alaska. Views from all points in the village are Kodak-perfect. I've dreamt about it it's so lovely; and the smell of the ancient forest wafting over the village combined with the smoke from the houses is like nothing you can imagine; not even the Redwoods can compare. Also, I'm a collector of sea glass and what I found on their local beaches is exquisite -- the largest and most beautiful pieces I've ever found have been in Kake!"
-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News