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Sweet Home Alaska

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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  568 ratings  ·  162 reviews
This exciting pioneering story, based on actual events, introduces readers to a fascinating chapter in American history, when FDR set up a New Deal colony in Alaska to give loans and land to families struggling during the Great Depression.
 
Terpsichore can’t wait to follow in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s footsteps . . . now she just has to convince her mom. It’s 1934, and times
...more
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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  • Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg
    Sweet Home Alaska
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    Release date: Jul 16, 2019
    Enter to win one of 5 signed copies of the new paperback edition of SWEET HOME ALASKA, a middle grade historical novel based on New Deal program that ...more

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    Giveaway dates: Jul 19 - Jul 31, 2019

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    Showing 1-30
    3.99  · 
    Rating details
     ·  568 ratings  ·  162 reviews


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    Debbie
    Apr 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
    Anytime I see "pioneering" used to describe stories like this, I wonder about the people whose lands were being made available to those "pioneers."

    In her author's note, Dagg writes (p. 290):

    A notable omission in accounts I read of the Palmer Colony was reference to the people who were in Alaska for thousands of years before the colonists: the various Eskimo, Aleut, Athabaskan, and other Indian tribes. Since I married into a part-Native family, I was concerned about this omission, but finally dec
    ...more
    Heather
    Fans of pioneer historical fiction like Caddie Woodlawn and the Little House on the Prairie series will get a kick out of this story about the Alaskan pioneering community of Palmer. When the mill her father is the bookkeeper for closes down, Terpsichore Johnson and her family decide to participate in President Roosevelt's homesteading program in Alaska. Terpsichore, or Trip, as she's sometimes called, is excited to follow in the footsteps of her favorite author, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Terpsichor ...more
    Heather Moore
    Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A perfectly timed audiobook with my 11 year old since we just covered The Great Depression and FDR’s New Deal in our history lessons. We both love, love, loved it! You can’t help but fall in love with Terpsichore (Terp-sick-oree, for those who don’t listen to the audio — but listen if you can, as Susan Denaker is an outstanding narrator) and her can-do, make-it-happen, pioneer spirit. Maybe best described as Little House meets The Penderwicks set in 1930’s Alaska, this story of simple family lif ...more
    Hilary
    Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
    If you've ever reread Laura Ingalls Wilder's books as an adult and wondered about outhouses, washing diapers, the practicalities of cooking and whether it was really as nice as it sounds, this charming story of a young girl trying to make a success of the pioneer life in Alaska will do the trick.

    I started it in the evening, and stayed up late to finish!
    Penny Peck
    Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: children-ya
    Terpsichore and her family move from Wisconsin to a new planned homesteading community in Alaska during the Great Depression, where they have to build their house, grow food, and learn to can salmon. Based on the real Palmer, Alaska, a homesteading community that was started by FDR's administration in the 1930's, this has the daily details that made Wilder's "Little House" series so fascinating. The third person historical fiction tale is memorable and light-hearted, and perfect for 4th through ...more
    Helen
    Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    Just as she did in her first historical novel for young people, THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS, author Carole Estby Dagg combines authentic historical detail with strong, engaging characters, adventurous situations, and touches of humor in all the right places. Readers of SWEET HOME ALASKA will fall in love with smart, gutsy heroine Terpsichore as she and her family experience the rigors of life in an untamed wilderness.
    Vicki
    This is a really charming book -- great for Little House on the Prairie fans (there are lots of references to the books and characters). But also great for fans of straightforward, plot-driven fiction. The main character is well written, and the little world she inhabits is easy to fall into.
    Nikki
    Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
    The family life, drama and adventure in this book was fun to read! I thought that the different characters were believable and the interactions (between family members and outside people) were well thought out and realistic. The ending left me thinking there could be a sequel though.

    This was part of a "book crate" that I ordered. It was the family read-aloud from the box and while I really enjoyed the story I found it to be somewhat difficult as a read a loud. There were a lot of conversations o
    ...more
    Karen Hatch
    Great YA book about Alaska. An historical fiction about a young girl and her family that move to Alaska during the Depression. The US Gov moved over 200 families off relief to Alaska to start the town of Palmer. The book has a "Little House on the Prairie" feel to it. Very good and quick read!
    Kristen
    Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: juvenile

    Historical fiction -- one of the mainstays of my childhood reading – seems to have fallen out of favor with today’s kids. Occasionally, one will gain some momentum and become a hit, such as “Chains” (Anderson), “The War That Saved My Life” (Bradley), or “Our Only May Amelia (Holm). It seems that kids have no qualms about transporting themselves to an often bleak and dystopian future, but they don’t consider traveling to the past. It’s a shame, because they are missing so much.

    As a librarian, I

    ...more
    QNPoohBear
    Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
    Terpsichore (Terp-sick-oh-ree) Johnson is devastated to learn her best friend's family is going to settle in Matanuska Colony Alaska- part of a New Deal plan where families will learn to become self-reliant farmers. Terpsichore vows to do anything she can to make sure her family goes too. When her plans go awry, she finds herself stuck in the middle of nowhere living in a tent with her parents, precocious twin sisters and baby brother. The only kid she knows is an annoying boy with a cat-scaring ...more
    Fred Pollock
    Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    I listened to this novel as soon as the audio book arrived at the library (The book arrived a bit later). From what I had read, the story sounded like something I would like and didn't fail. The style, the pacing, the plot and the characters work together to make a wonderfully enjoyable novel. I found that listening to the book was a lot of fun and turned out to be helpful just for the sake of pronouncing a couple of names.

    Sweet Home Alaska takes place in FDR's New Deal era when the Johnson fami
    ...more
    Patricia Tilton
    Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
    This is a powerful story about the Great Depression and the 202 families that risked everything to settle Alaska's real-life Palmer Colony in 1934. This lively and authentic story is about the harsh realities of life and work for any homesteader, let alone 11-year-old Terpsichore (Terp-sick-oh-ree) Johnson and her family. Dagg expertly explores the meaning of family relationships, friendships, hardship, pioneer cooperation, faith and home.

    The setting is realistic, the plot is original and moves
    ...more
    Emily M
    Update: read aloud to the kids this spring, and they all adored it. Excellent as a read aloud, and I was delighted by the family just as much the second time around.

    Original review:

    Well, this was a surprising delight! My 8 year old picked it up at the library, and we both loved it. We loved Terpischore's can-do spirit (especially raising her Laura and Almanzo pumpkins!), the family dynamics, the pioneer spirit of the settlers, and the friendships with Mendel and Gloria. While including plenty o
    ...more
    Helen
    A great story of the New Deal that Roosevelt made with 200 families from Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin to settle Matanuska valley. A delightful historical fiction for Young Adults.
    Cindy
    Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
    An adventure packed story about a family's struggles of pioneering in Alaska.
    Rebecca
    During the Depression, Terpsichore's family is in desperate straits after the town's mill closes. Hearing of a New Deal project to start a colony in Alaska, Terpsichore's father is eager to go, though her mother--a piano teacher who prefers 'civilization'--loathes the idea. She agrees to try it for one year, though, and the family heads for Palmer, Alaska. It's a tough first year, starting out in tents and facing hard work to clear land and build houses, though at least they have modern equipmen ...more
    Dylan
    May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I have always been interested in Alaska. When I read the premise of this young adult book, I knew it would be one I would probably love, and I was not wrong.

    Sweet Home Alaska follows the Johnson family during the Great Depression. They are from Wisconsin, but work is drying up for everyone. As part of his New Deal, President Franklin Roosevelt created a program to move 202 eligible families to the territory of Alaska (still about 25 years before it became a state) to set them up in their own pl
    ...more
    Aeicha
    Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    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 conv ...more
    Challice Neipp
    Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
    It has been a very long time since I raved about a book like I have this one. First of all, why have I never heard of this?! This should be right next to your Little House Series and those childhood classics that we love and hold so dear. My biggest review I can give is the fact that I am a bit hoarse right now. I just finished reading for about 2 hours straight. My children stayed up past their bedtime and kept begging for "just one more chapter, mom? Please?"

    Terp-sic-chore is a darling charac
    ...more
    Valerie McEnroe
    Adult rating: 4 stars
    Kid rating: 3 stars

    There's a lot of good things in this book about a virtually unknown FDR economic program. With the U.S. in the throes of the Great Depression in the 1930s, FDR offers Alaskan land and loans to economically depressed families in the upper mid-west. Terpsichore Johnson's family is one of those chosen. Her mother reluctantly goes along with it. The settlement begins as nothing more than a tent community. At first the Johnson's have to share a tent with anothe
    ...more
    Jeana Lawrence
    Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
    This was more of 3.5 but I'm rounding up since the facts and premise of the story was just so interesting. Terpsichore's family decides to move to Alaska as part of a New Deal program to give families on welfare a chance to start anew by colonizing the wild frontier of Alaska. Terpsichore is determined to stay and make the best of her situation, which doesn't start out the best. There are no modern amenities, like plumbing or electricity, and for the better part of the year, she and her family l ...more
    Georgene
    Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
    This historical fiction story was entertaining and unique, but it suffered a little because there was really no tension or climax. Terpsichore and her family is facing poverty during the Great Depression in their small town in Wisconsin when the local lumber mill closes and her father loses his job. Then they hear about a program for farmers and their families willing to relocate to the Matanuska Valley in Alaska and start a farming community there, all expenses paid by the government. Everyone ...more
    Rachel
    Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
    So, this was a well written historical fiction children's novel based on a true story of a group of settlers who move from the contiguous U.S. to Alaska, one of FDR's New Deal programs, in order to become self-sufficient and get off of relief. The author stays historically accurate to people's stereotypes concerning Alaska (i.e., "I don't want to live in an igloo [eat whale blubber]!") at the time but carefully never mentions the Natives indigenous to the state and focuses on her fictional pione ...more
    Jeannie
    Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2017-6-8
    Based on real events of the Palmer Colony which was a New Deal Project, Terpsichore and her family face the challenges of pioneering in Alaska. the "Lower 48" may be in the twentieth century with all its conveniences, but Palmer, Alaska was still wilderness in 1934. Father has signed on with several other families to start over. literally from scratch. The town has yet to be built - everyone lives in tents, use outhouses and in the meantime build their homes before the cold winter starts - in Au ...more
    Jen
    Jun 28, 2017 rated it liked it
    Shelves: young-adult
    Terpischore Johnson and her family are living their home in Wisconsin to start over in Alaska as part of President Roosevelt's initiative to settle the land. She's always dreamed of being Laura Ingalls Wilder and now she's going to get her chance. But, when the Johnsons arrive in Alaska it's not what anyone is expecting.

    There are no buildings, every is living in tents and sharing an outhouse. A mole eats her shoelace on the first day of school and her mother is determined that they won't stay. T
    ...more
    Marcia
    Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
    Strong characters. Interesting story for readers who enjoy historical fiction. The narrative, however, assumes a knowledge of the Great Depression; young readers would have benefited if more background and explanations had been woven into the story. The book would also have been richer if it included more details on Alaska; the stereotypes and assumptions the family makes about Alaska in the first chapter are never put to rest. More depth on Alaska as setting (so much more than mosquitoes and sn ...more
    Emily
    Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
    This book was so sweet. Terpsichore (Terp-sick-or-ee) and her family leave their home in Wisconsin when her father loses his job to start a homestead in Alaska during the Depression of the 1930s. I love the can-do spirit that the children in this story have - when they want something, they work hard to get it. I found myself somewhat annoyed with the mother at times, but to be honest, I would probably react the same way if you told me I would have to give up my creature comforts to live in a ten ...more
    Krmcnall
    Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Absolutely Wonderful book!!! As a Social Studies teacher who loves American History, I enjoy Historical Fiction. Every book I read in that genre seems to enlighten me a little bit more.This
    book is set during the Depression and is about a New Deal program I had never heard of. It was the Palmer Project up in Alaska which was similar to the Homestead Act. It gave families passage to Matanuska Valley , Alaska, and 40acres of land to farm. I won't spoil this book by giving away the plot
    but if you lo
    ...more
    Heidi
    May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
    Pre-read for my kids - such a good one! Age appropriate peak into what life was like during The New Deal in Alaska. Eye-opening even to me as an adult. A story that is simple and complex at just the right level. Books like this are conduits for great conversations with our kids about grit, work ethic, optimism despite difficult circumstances, hope, family values, community (and different ways that can look), serving others, *true* determination, patience, and the list goes on. I enjoyed this boo ...more
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    54 followers
    After careers as a children's librarian, certified public accountant, and assistant library director, I retired early to do what I had always wanted to do: write. My first book, The Year We Were Famous, was based on the true story of my great-aunt's 4,000-mile walk with her mother across the country in 1896.

    My second book, Sweet Home Alaska, was inspired when my son bought a 1930's house across f
    ...more