Okay look. After reading this book, I did a bit of research. There is a Native Alaskan language organization, and on their website they say that Eskimo is not a word used by Native Alaskans to describe themselves. Other websites I found said that it is a slur. So I can't really get behind recommending this book to students or adding it to a collection because of that language choice. It may have been accurate to the time period in which this book takes place, but for a book published in the 2010s I expect better.
AICL (American Indians in Children's Literature) also did not give this book a favorable review, which I think holds more weight than mine.
It's disappointing because I think there is a place for a historical fiction book like this. But it was executed poorly and without thought. Yes the author grew up in Alaska, but I theorize that perhaps the author relied too much on her own life experience and not enough on the experiences of Native Alaskans.
I will not be reading the sequel.
"Fans of slice-of-life historical fiction will love this cosy, engaging story set in 1920s Alaska. Abandoned by her mother years ago, 5-year-old tomboy Bo lives happily with her adopted papas in Ballard Creek, a close, caring community made up of gold miners and native Inuits. Though Bo's life is full of hard work (endless chores, sluicing dirt for gold), it's also got plenty of thrills (being chased by a bear, seeing a plane for the first time). Readers will be fascinated by the diverse characters, authentic details, and expressive illustrations in this endearingly simple tale. If you like Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books, you should definitely check out Bo at Ballard Creek." Kids' Books September 2013 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=682584
This book is reminiscent of the Little House books with loving details of family and community life in Alaska in the 1920's.
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