2 works by Alaska authors selected for National Book Festival

“Recess at 20 Below” by Cindy Lou Aillaud and Seth Kantner’s “A Thousand Trails Home, Living with Caribou”

A pair of books by Alaska authors have been selected to represent the state at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., next month.

“Recess at 20 Below” by Cindy Lou Aillaud and Seth Kantner’s “A Thousand Trails Home: Living with Caribou” were picked for the national Center for the Book’s Great Reads from Great Places program.

“We are thrilled to showcase these wonderful titles from Alaska authors and share them with this year’s National Book Festival participants,” Alaska Center for the Book co-president Sara Juday said in a prepared statement.

The Great Reads from Great Places program includes books and authors from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and a number of territories.

Aillaud’s book, published in 2005, is a children’s classic that depicts the frigid conditions during a winter school day in Delta Junction. She was a longtime physical education and special education teacher and was named Alaska Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2006.

“It was a total surprise and so exciting for ‘Recess at 20 Below’ to be selected to represent Alaska at the National Book Festival,” Aillaud said. “It is such an honor to still have ‘Recess at 20 Below’ recognized. I’m thrilled! I hope my book will inspire writers to write about their own backyard so that others may ‘experience’ their unique area.”

Kantner, who lives in Northwest Alaska, is the author of the best-selling novel “Ordinary Wolves.” His most recent work, “A Thousand Trails Home,” examines the Inupiat people of Northwest Alaska and their relationship to the Western Arctic caribou herd.

“I’m surprised, grateful, and honored that the National Book Festival even noticed my caribou book,” Kantner said. “Mostly I hope that leads to more people out there reading and learning about the Arctic, life here, and how much the land matters to all of us.”

The National Book Festival is scheduled for Sept. 3 and will also include livestreamed and recorded programs that can be viewed remotely.

Aillaud will participate in an online panel conversation with other authors from state Centers for the Book in the western region. That discussion and others will be posted toward the end of August on the National Book Festival website and the Library of Congress’ YouTube channel.