This weekend I had the privilege of attending a breakfast devoted to celebrating Alaska Literature and Alaskan authors. I learned that literacy among students in Alaska is incredibly low, and in part that is due to the lack of literature about Alaska. I can imagine that Alaskan students might struggle to relate to a lot of YA texts simply because their lives are so vastly different than those of the main characters in YA novels. Alaska literature makes literature much more accessible to students in this state.
I got to hear from several incredible Alaskan authors and also purchase some Alaskan literature. It was fascinating. One thing about Alaska that has stood out to me is how much Alaskans take pride in and love their state. The literature I heard about celebrated things like recess at -20 degrees, the salmon run in the summer, and the stories of Alaskan plant and animal life. The arts community in Alaska is very vibrant. Some of the authors were also illustrators and photographers as well, and many were former educators. I absolutely loved hearing their stories and learning more about this unique place.
Alaska is such an amazing and mysterious place. It seems that every new experience I learn something more, and I simultaneously learn how much I do not know about Alaska. It is a really awesome paradox. It made me think about how lucky I am to get to be a teacher in this state. I get to interact with such unique and wonderful people who have really beautiful stories to share. I am excited to learn more through these books and support Alaskan arts.