Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Sweet Home Alaska

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
SweethomeAlaska-cvr-198x300Sweet Home Alaska (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016) by Carole Estby Dagg is a fun and interesting historical read. I never realized there were pioneers as recent as 1935 until I read this book!
Here’s a brief summary of the story:
Terpsichore’s father is out of work like so many men during the Depression. He’s determined not to go on relief, so when he finds out about a chance to resettle in Alaska, he’s willing to take it. Unfortunately, since he isn’t on relief, the family’s not eligible. Terpsichore’s best friend and family are going, however, so she secretly fills out the paperwork. Yes, they end up in Alaska, but nothing goes according to plan. And what’s Terpsichore to do when her mother doesn’t want to stay?
This book is a Junior Library Guild selection. It is reminiscent of the main character’s favorite books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I love that the author included how she came to write the story on her website.

Posted in Award Winners, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Year We Were Famous

year we became famousIn 1896 Clara Estby and her mother left Washington state to walk all the way to New York City to save the family farm. The two women would write up their experiences and a publisher in New York would pay them and publish the story. The two fight illness, weather, ruffians, terrain, and dangers along the way. But will they meet their deadline and get paid?
The Year We Were Famous (Clarion Books, 2011) by Carole Estby Dagg is based on the true story of the author’s great-aunt and great-grandmother. About this book, Carole says, “After fifteen years and twenty-nine rejections, I have finally given Great-Aunt Clara and Great-Grandmother Helga voices of the forward-thinking women they were.”
Carole did an excellent job. While reading this very good book, I really felt the time period and the struggles of these two women.
I’m not the only one who things this book is good. Carole was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion earlier this summer for the book AND won the 2012 WILLA Literary Award for Children’s and Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction. This award is named for Willa Cather and is bestowed by Women Writing the West. Woo Hoo!
Read about the backstory of this book on Carole’s site. It’s fascinating, too!