Great Alaska Children's Books

Instill a love of reading while sharing Alaska's wild and wondrous life with your children. And what better way to share the fun, the facts and the folklore of our great state than with beautifully written and illustrated books by Alaskans. Here are a few of our favorites.

Alaska on the Go: Exploring the 49th State with Children by erin kirkland

Journalist and Alaska resident Erin Kirkland offers a fresh take on exploring some of the most beautiful land in the world, with tips and tricks that only an insider knows. Kirkland identifies the best and most kid-friendly destinations in cities across Alaska. She offers practical advice on everything from restaurants to rest stops and from weather surprises to wild animals. Photos, maps, and sample itineraries make it easy for parents to plan a trip that will delight and entertain everyone. (University of Alaska Press; March 15, 2014)

Mama Will You Read To Me by Peggy McMahon; illustrated by Beth Pennington Taylor

Peggy McMahon has captured the special bond that occurs between children and their parents when time is taken to sit and share thoughts and feelings over a good book. (Publication Consultants; June 1, 2013)

Age Range: 0-2

Alaska’s Dog Heroes: True Stories of Remarkable Canines by Shelley Gill; illustrated by Robin James

Read about amazing acts of intelligence, stamina, loyalty and heroism by Alaska’s famous dogs, including Balto, Togo, Tekla and Stickeen – from traversing mountains in winter with deliveries of life-saving medicine to fighting off bears and finding lost children. (Little Bigfoot, Feb. 25, 2014)

Age Range: 6-9

Deep in Alaska by Christine Johnson; illustrated by Gary Johnson

This gentle kids’ story about a boy out in the snowy woods is rendered in three colors (black, white and red) and told entirely in haiku. It also incorporates real photos of Eagle River. (University of Alaska Press, Sept. 2013)

Age Range: 5-9

Arctic Aesop’s Fables: Twelve Retold Tales by Susi Gregg Fowler; illustrated by Jim Fowler

Join the wolf, polar bear, raven and many more as they learn (and teach!) many of life’s invaluable lessons in this arctic retelling of the classic Aesop’s Fables. (Sasquatch Books, Feb. 2013)

Age Range: 6-9

Gone Again Ptarmigan by Jonathan London; illustrated by Jon Van Zyle

The poetic text of this picture book follows a mated pair of ptarmigan through the seasons as they change plumage, avoid and confuse predators, protect their young and migrate for the winter. (University of Alaska Press, Aug. 2013)

Age Range: 5-8

Lone Wolves by John Smelcer;
illustrated by Hannah Carlon

This young adult book tells a gripping story of a 16-year-old girl’s challenges in holding on to her traditional Native Alaskan culture as she trains for a 1,000-mile dog-sled race. (Leapfrog Press, Oct. 2013)

Age Range: 12 & up

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill; illustrated by LeUyen Pham

It’s the 1920s, and Bo was headed for an Alaska orphanage when she won the hearts of two tough gold miners who set out to raise her, enthusiastically helped by all the kind people of the nearby Eskimo village. (Henry Holt & Co., June 2013)

Age Range: 8-12

The Alaska Mother Goose by Shelley Gill; illustrated by Shannon Cartwright

This collection of lighthearted nursery rhymes with a northern flair comes complete with a glossary of facts about each animal mentioned. The musical rhymes and engaging illustrations will delight both young and old. (Sasquatch Books/Paws IV Children's Books, 2002)

Ages: Infant to preschoolers

Atiska, Ataska, Charlie's in Alaska written and illustrated by Anne Canterbury & Glenda Field

Cheechako Charlie discovers that he has a lot to learn about the Land of the Midnight Sun. His cousin Sourdough Sam knows that it is best for Charlie to uncover the secrets through his own discoveries. As Charlie and Sam explore the Last Frontier, your own curiosity will grow and you will want to learn more about the 49th state. (Publication Consultants, 2010)

Ages: 4-8 years

Big-Enough Anna: The Little Sled Dog Who Braved the Arctic by Pam Flowers with Ann Dixon; illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

Anna may be the smallest dog in the litter, but she’s surely the most determined. In this incredible true story, Anna joins a dog team for a 2,500-mile expedition across the top of the world. When the lead dog becomes lost, it’s up to Anna to take his place. Will she have what it takes to ensure the survival of all? In an exciting climax, she proves the answer is “Yes!” (Alaska Northwest Books, 2003)

Ages: 4-8 years

Caribou Crossing by Andrea Helman; photography by Art Wolfe

This charming picture book takes readers on a trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a cold, remote, dark and frigid place. But there’s another side to the refuge that is bright, colorful and teeming with wildlife. Children will learn fun facts about 23 animals from the refuge, from bearded seals to beluga whales. (Sasquatch Books/Paws IV Children’s Books, 2009)

Ages: 4-6 years

The Giant Cabbage by Cherie B. Stihler; illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell

Moose discovers a very big cabbage in his garden that could win first prize at the Alaska State Fair. But there's a problem – it's so huge he can't lift it! Various animal friends stop to help, and through teamwork and positive attitude, they succeed. Comical repetitions, fun words and vivid animal characters bring the story to life. (Sasquatch Books, 2003)

Ages: Infant to preschoolers

Have You Ever Seen A Smack of Jellyfish? An Alphabet Book written and illustrated by Sarah Asper-Smith

This bold and vibrant alphabet book takes children on a fascinating journey through the alphabet with animals as its guide. How many animal groups do you think you can name? An Army of Ants and a Gaggle of Geese? How about a Knot of Frogs and a Covey of Quail? This book's colorful illustrations and playful use of language appeal to readers of all ages. (Sasquatch Books, 2010)

Ages: 3-8 years

The Sourdough Man
The Sourdough Man: An Alaska Folktale by Cherie B. Stihler; illustrated by Barbara Lavallee

Remember the runaway Gingerbread Man? Now there’s a distinctly Alaskan version of this tale. A runaway sourdough loaf has come to life, and he is eluding all manner of creatures native to the great north: musk ox, lemmings, arctic hares, caribou, marmot, golden eagle. But the arctic fox, it turns out, is both cleverer and hungrier than all the other animals! (Sasquatch Books, 2010)

Ages: 3-8 years

Survival at 40 Below by Debbie S. Miller; illustrated by Jon Van Zyle

As temperatures drop and the snow deepens, the animals that make the tundra home must ready themselves for survival. Follow the cycles of different arctic inhabitants as they prepare themselves for the cold winter. Then when the temperatures finally rise and the snow begins to melt, these creatures emerge and the pulse of life returns to the arctic. (Walker Books for Young Readers, 2010)

Ages: 4-8 years

Under Alaska's Midnight Sun by Deb Vanasse; illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell

In the far northern parts of the world, summer days are very long. In Barrow, the sun rises in May and shines all through the night. When this midnight sun is shining, people and animals stay active even at night. This story showcases the many pleasures of this unique time as a little girl dances, fishes, plays games, watches moose and fox and communes with family and nature. (Sasquatch Books, 2005)

Ages: 4-8 years

What's a Shrew to You
What's a Shrew to You by Mary Shields; illustrated by Jon Van Zyle

This rhyming picture book encourages young people to go outside and be curious about the wildlife around them, especially in the boreal forest of Alaska. Children and adults alike are sure to enjoy the spectacular illustrations. On a CD tucked in the back cover, the text is set to music and sung by Susan Grace, helping young readers learn their words. (Pyrola Publishing, 2009)

Ages: Preschoolers and up

Wiggle-Waggle WOOF! Counting Sled Dogs in Alaska by Cherie B. Stihler; illustrated by Michael Bania

This colorful and lively story centers on preparing a sled dog team ready for a race. Children count paws, ears and noses as the dogs eagerly await the starting gun. A sled-dog glossary helps children learn mushing terminology and sled dog facts. The cheerful text is excellent for reading aloud and makes for a wonderful way to get children excited about counting. (Sasquatch Books, 2009)

Ages: 3-7 years