If you want to share your wanderlust for Alaska with the children in your life, look no further than this compilation of some of our favorite Alaska-themed children’s books. You can share your dreams of traveling to Alaska with your children by introducing them to the state with this collection. Or maybe you and your family are lucky enough to have visited the state before. Bring home one of these books about Alaska to commemorate your trip so you and your kids can relive your treasured memories for years to come.
“The Sleeping Lady” – written by Ann Dixon, oil paintings by Elizabeth Johns
Mount Susitna is better known as Sleeping Lady because from Anchorage, the mountain looks like a woman laying down (though whether she’s on her side or on her back is debated). In this book, Ann Dixon tells readers the legend of Sleeping Lady, complete with mythical giants and stories of Alaska’s first snowfall. Paintings by Elizabeth Johns bring the story to life, creating a book that kids reach for again and again.
“Alaska’s Three Bears” – written by Shelly Gill, illustrated by Shannon Cartwright
Most children are familiar with the classic fairy tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” This unique Alaska spin features a polar bear, a brown bear and a black bear (along with other Alaska wildlife). The fun story helps children learn about the animals and climate of Alaska along with captivating imagery.
Fans of this book should check out more from Shelly Gill’s collection like “Count Alaska’s Colors,” another educational picture book with an Alaska theme.
“Aurora: A Tale of Northern Lights” – written and illustrated by Mindy Dwyer
Another origin story, in this book, artist and storyteller Mindy Dwyer uses both language and imagery to tell the tale of a girl who makes a magical discovery and discovers her own courage in the northern lights. This book is sure to spark a desire in people young and old to travel to Alaska for a chance to see the green and purple dancing lights.
For more from Mindy Dwyer, we recommend her Alaska twists on classic fairy tales like “The Salmon Princess: An Alaska Cinderella Story” or “Alaska’s Snow White and Her Seven Sled Dogs” and more!
“Mama Do You Love Me” – written by Barbara M. Joose, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
A universal story in an Alaska setting, this book teaches children that across culture, time and place, a mother’s love has no boundaries. This book is a classic made all the better by Barbara Lavallee’s iconic illustrations. A well-known Alaska artist, Lavallee is a community favorite for how she depicts Alaska culture.
“The Snow Child” – written by Freya Littledale, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
You may be familiar with Eowyn Ivey’s “The Snow Child,” a Pulitzer finalist, but have you read the version for children written by Freya Littledale? The classic fairy tale has been retold many times but this account, with more beautiful illustrations by Barbara Lavallee, is a family favorite for many.
“Julie of the Wolves” – written by Jean Craighead George, illustrated by John Schoenherr
After the death of her mother, an Inuit girl being raised by her father learns the traditional ways of her people. When she is nine, her aunt enrolls her in an American school where people begin calling her Julie instead of her Inuit name Miyax. Her change in name represents her journey to find balance between her traditional ways and a new Americanized life. Follow along this coming-of-age story of survival as Julie discovers who she really is.
“Sweet Home Alaska” – written by Carole Estby Dagg
Fans of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books will enjoy this Alaska-version of a pioneering story based on actual events set during the time when loans and land were given to struggling families who made the move to Alaska during the Great Depression. Told from the viewpoint of a daughter desperate for a fresh start and committed to making Alaska feel like home for her family, young readers will connect to the main character and fall in love with Alaska, too.
“Williwaw” – written by Tom Bodett
Young readers love action and adventure and this book has it all. The story of two young siblings facing the world together after their mother dies in a williwaw, a violent storm. Their father fishes for a living and spends much of his time out at sea. This book describes the Alaska landscape, complete with all the sounds and smells that go with it. It will transport young readers to Alaska and also teach lessons of boat safety and respect for the sea, in addition to self-sufficiency and the importance of family.
When you or your children are daydreaming of a trip to Alaska, the next best thing may be to transport yourself there with a book. We hope these titles get you excited for future Alaska travels and help you relive all your Alaska memories for a long time to come.