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Monday, July 15, 2019

Review and Giveaway: Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg

Sweet Home Alaska 
By Carole Estby Dagg 
July 16, 2019 (paperback) 
Puffin Books 

It's 1934, and times are tough for Trip's family after the mill in their small Wisconsin town closes, leaving her father unemployed. Determined to provide for his family, he moves them all to Alaska to become pioneers as part of President Roosevelt's Palmer Colony project. Trip and her family are settling in, except her mom, who balks at the lack of civilization. But Trip feels like she's following in Laura Ingalls Wilder's footsteps, and she hatches a plan to raise enough money for a piano to convince her musical mother that Alaska is a wonderful and cultured home. Her sights set on the cash prize at the upcoming Palmer Colony Fair, but can Trip grow the largest pumpkin possible--using all the love, energy, and Farmer Boy expertise she can muster? 


It’s 1934 and the Great Depression has hit America hard. Young Terpsichore’s father has lost his job and they’re running out of options. When FDR begins the Palmer Colony project, Trip and her family join hundreds of other families in hopes of starting over in Alaska. Trip is excited to be a pioneer like Laura Ingalls Wilder, but once they arrive in Alaska, they soon discover that things will be harder than they thought. Can a giant pumpkin, a library project, and some new friends help Trip convince her mom to let the family stay in Alaska? 

Carole Estby Dagg’s Sweet Home Alaska is a tender, thoughtful middle-grade historical fiction. With a plucky heroine, heartfelt storytelling, and a historical setting rarely explored in middle-grade, Sweet Home Alaska is a refreshing and inspiring read. 

I had never heard of the Palmer Colony project and I’m sure few young readers will have either, but after reading Sweet Home Alaska they, like me, will be eager to learn more about this project and the people who pioneered it. Dagg does a great job of bringing this time and setting to life through smart historical world building and careful character development. The wilds of Alaska and all the hardships, fascinating discoveries, and adventures it brings are excitedly explored, as readers join Trip on the long journey to her new home.  

Sweet Home Alaska is full of endearing, engaging, likable characters for readers to relate to and root for. I really enjoyed Trip’s determined, can-do spirit and her generous heart.  

Enjoyable, uplifting, and well-written, Sweet Home Alaska is a delightful read! 


4/5 Cupcakes 

Carole Estby Dagg also wrote the middle-grade historical novel The Year We Were Famous. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and has lived in Washington, Idaho, and British Columbia. She has degrees in sociology, library science, and accounting. She spends most of her time writing and reading, but her real-life adventures include tiptoeing through King Tut’s tomb, sandboarding the dunes of Western Australia, riding a camel among the Great Pyramids, paddling with Manta rays in Moorea, and smelling the penguins in the Falkland Islands. She is married with two children and two grandchildren. Her son lives in Palmer, Alaska, and that is what inspired her to write this story. She splits her writing time between her study in Everett, Washington, and a converted woodshed on San Juan Island. To learn more, and to download free curriculum guides, visit her website: 

Win a copy of Sweet Home Alaska!
I have one new paperback copy for one winner.
-US only
-ends 7/21/19
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, stolen prizes

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Danielle H. said...

I enjoy historical middle grade fiction and I visited and stayed in Palmer, AK! How exciting is this to find a book set there.

wen budro said...

This looks like a wonderful book. I lived in Alaska for 10 years and miss it.

Nancy P said...

Looks like a great book. Love the cover.