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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Honoring Alaska's Indigenous Literature

Cheryl Jerabek

NAME OF BOOK: Alice Meets Inupiat Eskimos
AUTHOR: Sara Budinger Peterson
ILLUSTRATOR: Mary Bee Kaufman
)? Yes

The author came to Alaska in 1966, traveled all over the state, and currently lives in Homer. The illustrator also lives in Homer. The author's main source for this book was an Inupiat friend she met at UAA. She also references a favorite book about the Inupiats, Pioneer Missionary to the Bering Strait Eskimos. The author also researched the Homer Homesteader newspaper for historical information.

This book is part of a series, the first book was entitled Alice, an Alaskan Pioneer, followed by Alice Meets Inupiat Eskimos and still to come, The Journey of Perm.The main character is Alice, a five year old girl. She lives with her mother and father on a homestead near Homer. Her mother teaches school and her father is a pilot. The book includes information on various homesteaders and activities in the Homer area. Alice's father is also in a plane crash, but all winds up well.

While at school, Alice meets and befriends an Inupiat girl, Hattie. The title of this book is misleading, as only one four-page chapter really deals with the Inupiat family. The Inupiat family also lives on a homestead with a Swedish family and a non-native adopted grandmother. The author does try to include some Inupiat words from the Teller area, and an explanation of English and Inupiat names, but there is no information on the traditional Inupiat culture or any other indigenous natives from the Homer area. The standard of success is all taken from the western point of view with the emphasis on going to school for the children and even the Inupiat mother's desire to get a high school diploma.

The book does include good historical references to the Pilgrim airplane used in the area in the 1940's and provides some insight on what it was like to live in the Homer area as a homesteader. However, one wonders about the title and why Anna, the Inupiat mother, moved from Nome to Homer with a missionary/teacher family. The author says that her next book, The Journey of Perm, will tell the story of Perm who walked across Alaska to join his true love.

The reading level of this book is approximately upper middle school/junior high. Although this book may provide good historical information on what it was like to homestead in Homer, I would not recommend it for any type of indigenous study.

The book reviews are a result of students enrolling in special topics course Ed 493 Examining Alaska Children's Literature taught by Esther A. Ilutsik in the Spring of 2004.

The book reviews are written by the students and are a reflection of their own analysis of the books and have not been altered in any way. The reviewers have given permission to share the book reviews on the HAIL website.






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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
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Last modified August 14, 2006