Tag archives for Alaska
BOOK NAME: Diamond Willow
AUTHOR: Helen Frost
If you can think of a unique setting for a book, I am sure that one you would think of is an Alaskan setting. Diamond Willow takes place in Alaska and if that isn’t unique enough, on each page the words are set in a diamond shape and a few of the words are highlighted to make another sentence. It is hard to explain but when you see the pages of the book, trust me it will all make sense. At first, it can be a little strange to read in this manner. But once you get used to it you may find yourself enjoying this unique manner of storytelling.
As you would expect, a story taking place in Alaska offers everything you could want in a book such as action, adventure and mystery. This book is a daring tale where the main character, 12 year old Willow, is desperate for independence from her parents. She is an aspiring musher (someone who trains and handles dogs for a sled team). Willow would love more than anything to mush the dogs out to her grandparents by herself, but her parents won’t allow it. Roxy, the lead dog in the team, has to help guide Willow through the challenges she faces not only in the wilderness, but in herself as well.
With the help of others, Willow grows tremendously in this book. She comes to realize that you can’t do everything on your own and with the help of friends (whether it be human or canine), you can accomplish what you want the most and more. I think that everyone who reads this book can relate to it because there are many cool aspects to this story, especially the dogs. I can tell you these sled dogs are nothing like my little Chihuahua, Sophie! This is one of those really good books that if you reread it, you will find out something new each time.
You probably already know that bears hibernate through the winter. They find a cozy den to curl up in, and sleep the cold months away–all without waking up to eat (or even go to the bathroom). Scientists always thought that when the bears slowed their metabolisms so they could sleep for so long without eating, their body temperatures would drop dramatically. A new study says that this isn’t the case.
Alaskan black bears do lower their body temperatures while hibernating, but only by about 9 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit (5 or 6 degrees Celsius). Other body processes slow down as well. The bears’ heart rates dropped from about 55 beats per minute to about 9 beats per minute! How well would humans do with heart rates like slumbering bears? “If we had that kind of longer interval within our heartbeats, we would probably faint,” said study co-author Øivind Tøien, a zoophysiologist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Photograph from All Canada Photos/Alamy
BOOK NAME: Julie
AUTHOR: Jean Craighead George
Imagine visiting a modern Eskimo village. That’s exactly where Julie by Jean Craighead George takes you. This realistic fiction book is a sequel to Julie of the Wolves. Julie teaches you that if you are determined to achieve something you should never give up.
In Julie of the Wolves, Julie, a young Eskimo girl, survives the harsh winter on the tundra alone with help from a wolf pack. In Julie, she returns to her father, Kapugen, in Kangik, Alaska. Kapugen has given up Eskimo ways and has adapted to modern amenities. He has even married an American woman named Ellen. At first, Julie has a hard time adjusting to the new ways, but eventually feels happy as she learns to balance herself between the two traditions. However, problems arise when a wolf from the wolf pack Julie had befriended kills a musk ox which belongs to Kapugen. Kapugen wants to kill the wolves. But, Julie wants to save her wolves and sets out on the tundra to push them farther away from Kangik. Will the wolves stay away from the musk oxen? Will Kapugen’s desire to kill them lessen? Read the book to find out.
Julie is a book one would enjoy reading. I would suggest reading Julie of the Wolves first, so you can understand Julie better. The interaction between the wolves and Julie is described so thoroughly that communicating with animals seems simple. The details about the Eskimo village and the Eskimo ceremonies are very informative. Julie is truly a wonderful book!
BOOK NAME: Julie of the Wolves
AUTHOR: Jean Craighead George
As the main character, Julie, runs from her past, she comes to find herself living alone in the Alaskan wilderness. Her days are filled just waiting for winter to set in, offering her nothing but its blinding, cold hard months. Through some tragic circumstances, Julie finds herself almost starving to death when she discovers a pack of wolves. She watches them and learns the secret language of these wolves and finally is accepted into the pack by the leader.
As you read, you also learn the secret language of wolves with Julie. This is fascinating because it has even helped me better understand my own dog’s behavior including nipping at the nose and why she pulls her hears back or rolls over.
I loved the crystal clear words the author used to describe the sun, snow and wilderness. She slowly crafted the scene into my mind as I read and I could easily picture myself there. The author explains the story so vividly that even the strongest of heart will feel weepy. Make sure you have a box of tissues handy when you read this one!
I also enjoyed this story because it reminded me of Island of the Blue Dolphins. Like it, this is a survival story which is especially inspiring. I’m anxious to read the book’s sequel to find out what happens next. The ending of this book seems so perfect that I can’t imagine what more could happen. But I’ll let you know soon!
What is a decennial census? It’s a count of the population of the United States that only happens once a decade (10 years). The first official count of the 2010 census took place in Noorvik, a remote village in Alaska that is in the Arctic Circle. In the photo above, you can see U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves traveling to meet with Noorvik residents by dogsled.
Many of the people living in Alaska’s remote villages leave for hunting or fishing grounds during the spring thaw, so the census traditionally begins earlier there than the rest of the United States. People living in bigger Alaskan cities will receive the census form by mail in mid-March, along with the rest of the country. Taking a national census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data is important for determining how many seats a state gets in the House of Representatives, as well as how to distribute funds for schools and hospitals.
Learn more about the 2010 decennial census on the U.S. Census Bureau website.
How much do you know about the Iditarod, the famous yearly dogsled race? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Photograph courtesy U.S. Census Bureau, Public Information Office
Alaska’s Mount Redoubt erupted six times between Sunday night and Saturday morning, sending an ash cloud 9.5 miles (15 kilometers) into the air! The eruptions also caused small earthquakes and mudflows. The volcano could keep erupting for days… weeks… or even months!
Mount Redoubt wasn’t the only recent volcano eruption. An undersea volcano in Tonga also erupted last week. Tonga is an archipelago (group of islands) in the Pacific Ocean. The eruption has sent up ash, smoke, and steam. Underwater volcanoes can build islands as the magma builds up–that’s how the Hawaiian Islands were formed.
Read more about the Mount Redoubt eruptions and see pictures on National Geographic News.
Read about the Tonga eruption on National Geographic News.
See photos of volcanoes in the Photo Gallery!