Nominated for Grades 5/6 in Alaska School Librarians' "Battle of the Books" for 2002-2003
by Frances Kittredge
Using her letters and journals written during her time at Wales from 1900 to 1902, Ellen's sister Frances Kittredge wrote 12 stories for children, based on her experiences. Stories for each month center on a seven-year-old boy, his friends, and family in his village in northwestern Alaska during the 1880s. Frances commissioned Point Hope Native Howard "Weyahok" Rock, then a student artist at the University of Washington and later a writer, editor and community leader in Alaska, to illustrate the stories. Neeluk features over 30 drawings and 12 full-color reproductions of Rock's oil paintings. There is also a color map of Alaska created from an 1894 document, showing locations of villages at that time. The project editor at Alaska Northwest Books calls Neeluk a "crossover book," since it appeals both to children for the stories and to adults for the illustrations and the historic information it contains. Part of the value of the book is that the illustrations show in detail some of the artifacts mentioned in Ice Window.
Untitled by Howard "Weyahok" Rock
Rock's painting of the umiaks with sails is not included in Neeluk. References to sails are found in two chapters, as indicated below.
"August" (p. 22)
"May" (p. 78)