Alaska Native Heritage Month

Almost 40 people listened to Peter Metcalfe discuss his new book, "A Dangerous Idea: The Alaska Native Brotherhood and the Struggle for Indigenous Rights", on Nov. 6 at the UAA Campus Bookstore.

The discussion, co-sponsored by the bookstore and Alaska Center for the Book, is part of Alaska Native/American Indian Heritage Month events in Anchorage.

"A Dangerous Idea" tells an overlooked but powerful story of Alaska Natives fighting for their rights under American law. Throughout the early 20th century, the Alaska Native Brotherhood fought for citizenship, voting rights and education for all Alaska Natives, securing unheard-of victories in a contentious time. Their efforts helped propel Alaska statehood as well as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, one of the biggest claim settlements in U.S. history.

Metcalfe, who is from Juneau, is the author of several books documenting the history of Alaska Native tribal organizations, most recently "Gumboot Determination." A photographer, videographer and writer, he has spent decades working with Alaska Native organizations in Southeast Alaska, from corporations to tribal and health organizations. He will be joined in the presentation by Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy, a researcher and writer who has worked on several books about Alaska Native rights. The presentation is free and open to the public. Free parking is available on campus near the bookstore, and behind Rasmuson Hall and next to the Wells Fargo Sports Center. More information here.

Letters About Literature 2015

Students in grades 4 through 12 are invited to enter Letters About Literature, a national writing contest sponsored by Alaska Center for the Book and the Center of the Book in the Library of Congress. Information about the 2015 Letters About Literature contest is available here: LAL Guidelines and also on the Library of Congress Center for the Book site.



The deadline for the 2015 contest is December 15, 2014 for grades 9-12 and the deadline for grades 4-8 is January 15, 2015.


Poems in Place Dedications and Celebrations

Dedications and celebrations were recently held at the installations of two new Poems in Place. Poems in Place were recently installed at the Lake Aleknagik State Recreation Site/Wood-Tikchik State Park near Dillingham and at Independence Mine State Historical Park at Hatcher Pass.




 For more information visit our Poems in Place web page.


Sue Sherif Literacy Award

This year, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program encouraged us to create a special award for literacy. We've chosen to name that award for someone special--a longtime Alaska Center for the Book board member, herself a former CLIA recipient, who is retiring from the state library system. She has dedicated her career to readers of all ages in all parts of the state. Her passion for libraries, books and readers are an inspiration to many people around Alaska. The first recipients of the Sue Sherif Literacy Award are members of a team that created interactive children's books in Cup'ik. Joseph Gorski is director of technology and federal programs for the Kashunamiut School District in Chevak. Dr. Bob Wicker is director of the Consortium for Digital Learning of the Association of Alaska School Boards. They helped form a team which translated an interactive book series into the Chevak region's language. Finding books that are relevant, accessible and affordable to Alaska Native language speakers has been a longtime goal of the Alaska Center for the Book, and we're delighted that this program is so successful.  




Sue Sherif

Sue Sherif

Young Emerging Artists, Inc. Competition

Young Emerging Artists, Inc. announces that registration for the Alaska Region of the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition is now open to students in grades 7-12 in public, private or home schools throughout the state. Deadline is Dec. 20, 2014.

YEA Inc. is a nonprofit arts organization committed to encouraging and assisting young aspiring Alaskan artists through a balanced combination of charitable and educational efforts, to unlock their potential and achieve standards of excellence while bringing their work to the attention of the public.

More information can be found at


Alaska Literary Awards

This year, the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation unveiled a new program, the Alaska Literary Awards, which are funded through a very generous donation from our former State Writer Laureate, Peggy Shumaker, and Joe Usibelli.

Five recipients of the inaugural Alaska Literary Awards were named:



Ernestine Hayes | mixed genre | Juneau
Erin Hollowell | poetry | Homer
Joan Kane | poetry | Anchorage, King Island, Mary's Igloo
Susanna Mishler | poetry | Anchorage, Hope
Frank Soos | fiction and essays | Fairbanks


Next Alaska Center for the Book Board Meeting

Wednesday, December 3, 6:00 pm., Holiday potluck, contact us for more information.

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