Reading the North

Miss Agnes and the Ginger Tom

By Kirkpatrick Hill (HarperCollins, $25.99)

The blurb: The sequel to "The Year of Miss Agnes," this children's book follows a teacher in a small Athabascan village as she tries to help a gifted young student getting into a college prep school.

Excerpt: "Sam White kidnapped Miss Agnes for us.

"He's the one who flies in our mail, Sam. In his Gullwing Stinson. Miss Agnes was going back to England because she'd been teaching upriver for a long time. And because the war was over, that one when England got bombed. And because she missed England a lot.

"She was almost on the big plane in Fairbanks when Sam kidnapped her because we needed a teacher.

"When he brought her to us we were so surprised because she wasn't like any of the other teachers.

"For one thing, she wore pants. Around here women and us girls wear dresses and our moccasins and those thick tan socks that don't stay up very good. We never saw a woman wear pants before."

When Sarah Palin Came to Town

By Toe (Copper Raven Press)

The blurb: In 2002, Toe was a political cartoonist living in Juneau when a then little-known politician made a run for statewide office. This book collects the satirical cartoons that would follow over the next several years along with a timeline of Sarah Palin's rise to national prominence.

Excerpt: "Only a few Alaskans knew anything about Sarah Palin prior to her run for lieutenant governor in 2002. Watchers of Alaska politics might have known she'd been a city council member and mayor in little Wasilla, that rapidly growing, distant suburb of Anchorage, a small town known for its northern hillbillies, incest, and meth labs (or at least cruel jokes about them); that she was young and charismatic; maybe that she had been a high-school basketball player and beauty contest winner.

"As she ran for lieutenant governor she promoted herself as a hard-core fiscal conservative. This wasn't much of a claim in a crowded field of Republicans all claiming to be rock-solid conservatives. Her opponents also had an advantage of established track records in statewide lawmaking. They were familiar figures in the news and on the statewide TV channel that broadcasts the state Legislature's hearings and press conferences. Outside Wasilla and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, Sarah Palin was relatively unknown."

-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News