Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

December 23, 2009

Blessing's Bead

By Debby Dahl Edwardson
Era: 1917 Alaska/1986 Alaska
Rating: 4 stars

This fascinating story is told in 2 parts. It starts with Nutaaq in 1917, on her way to the giant trade fair at Sheshalik where the thousands that gather will trade goods, play games and socialize. While there, her older sister Aaluk meets a Siberian Eskimo, and the two marry before the fair is over and when they leave, Aaluk goes with her new husband. But she gives Nutaaq two of the beautiful, magical blue beads the Siberian wears, with a promise to bring back enough for the whole family. But Nutaaq never sees Aaluk again, and she suffers many horrible things, including an influenza epidemic and the Cold War. We then fastforward to the 1980's, where Blessing, whose Inupiaq name is Nutaaq, is sent with her little brother to live in a small village with their grandmother. Blessing feels disconnected from her life, but when she is first in her grandmother's house, she finds a bright blue bead. With that bead, Nutaaq begins to find that connection as she learns the Inupiaq language and customs that are still practiced in the small community, and feels what it is like to be surrounded by extended family. Can her own little family finally be healed? Filled with interesting facts about the Inupiaq people and with a compelling story about fitting in that everyone can relate to, readers won't be sorry to have picked up this book.


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