In Kayak Girl a young child learns to cope with serious loss by focusing on something larger than herself. After Jana’s mother dies, she becomes withdrawn. Her grandfather, a carver, pays the girl a visit and finds her unresponsive to his care. He carves a figure of a girl in a kayak and asks Jana to promise that she will watch for the figure after he releases it upriver. Through the following seasons, Jana goes to the river daily and finds strength in the positive memories from her short time with her mother, even as she imagines the distant kayak girl’s struggles. Eventually, they are reunited, and Jana’s spirit is revived. Throughout the book, watercolor illustrations take readers to a magical place along an Alaska river and demonstrate the power of memory and a sense of place in the natural world.
Praise For Kayak Girl…
— The Midwest Book Review
"This is a beautiful children's story that deals with a very sensitive subject. . . . This book provides an outstanding example of the Alaskan culture and traditions. The story deals with feelings in a way that children will understand. I highly recommend this book for children of all ages."
— Janette Fuller, retired elementary school librarian
"Set in rural Alaska, Kayak Girl is a touching tribute to the power of memories and a grandfather’s love."
— Deb Vanasse, author of Lucy’s Dance and Black Wolf of the Glacier
University of Alaska Press, 9781602231887, 32pp.
Publication Date: September 15, 2012
About the Author
Monica Devine is the author of several books for children, including Hanna Bear’s Christmas and Carry Me, Mama. Mindy Dwyer is a children’s book author and illustrator.