Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book Award

Nominees 2003



The Year of Miss Agnes

It was different in Alaska in 1948.  The children liked school but the teachers didn't.  Teachers never stayed long in the little Alaskan village--they didn't like fish, or it was too cold, or it was too lonely.  Then, Miss Agnes came and school changed for everyone....even Bokka was able to go to school and learn to read and write and use sign language.  Bokka was deaf.  Fred, short for Fredericka, tells about all that she and the other children learned when Miss Agnes came -- 

American Sign Language Fingerspelling

Alaska for Kids


Words from The Year of Miss Agnes

Robin Hood                           Chimera                             Hydra                             Cerberus                                   Ulysses                             King Arthur            marten                      muskrat                        caribou                             ptarmigan porcupine                                wolverine
magenta                          sienna                 periwinkle                            sod house                       Yukon River                     Koyukuk River                       potlatch                     concertina                           birch                moccasins                  somersault                         tarp                

Try to organize this list of words from the book into three categories.  Some words have more than one meaning.  Use the text in the story to help you figure out meanings.  Keep a dictionary, thesaurus, or computer nearby.

Know::  I know what it means

Seen:  I've seen this word before, but am not sure of its meaning.

New::  I've never seen this word before.

Know Seen New

Student Reviews  

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Books Mentioned in the Story

Robin Hood retold by Howard Pyle.
Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and the merry outlaws of Sherwood Forest repeatedly outwit the sheriff of Nottingham and befriend the poor.

The adventures of Ulysses retold by Anna Claybourne.              An illustrated retelling of the ancient Greek poem.  Ulysses'  struggle to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War is recounted.

Robin Hood and his men. 

For the Teacher

The Year of Miss Agnes is a first person narrative told as if the author were an older Alaskan woman recounting the story of a year in her childhood . . . short, easy read for most fourth graders.  Many allusions to classic stories are in this book, along with a teaching style that only now many teachers are emulating.  Imagine! She taught that way in 1948!  Art and literature mix here with snow, fish, and an Alaskan winter.  Good for a read-aloud, too.

Activity: Make a chart to track of all the ways Miss Agnes helps her students learn.  



Koyukuk / 1998

Koyukuk School Website

Koyukuk is in the north central region of Alaska.

 Map of the State of Alaska.- (c) Copyright 2002 Lonely Planet Publications. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Allakaket School Kids in Computer Lab / 1998

Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development

Allakaket School / 1998

All About the Yukon River

Other Books About Alaska

Balto and the great race Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. - Random House, New York : c1999. (636.73) "A Stepping Stone book." Recounts how the sled dog Balto saved Nome, Alaska, in 1925 from a diphtheria epidemic by delivering medicine through a raging snowstorm.

Black Star, Bright Dawn
O'Dell, Scott, 1898-1989. - Houghton Mifflin, Boston : 1988. (-Fic-) Bright Dawn must face the challenge of the Iditarod dog sled race alone when her father is injured.

Denali National Park and Preserve 
Petersen, David, 1946- - Children's Press, New York : c1996. (979.8) Includes bibliographical references (p. 44) and index. Describes the landscape, wildlife, and visitor activities at Alaska's Denali National Park

Hands-on Alaska : art activities for all ages 
Merrill, Yvonne Young - K/ITS , Anchorage, Alaska : c1996. (745.5) #24824A3Presents instructions for a variety of craft activities that recreate some of the Native arts of Alaska, and includes color photographs of traditional Native art from the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

Julie of the wolves 
George, Jean Craighead, 1919- - HarperCollins, New York : c1972. (-Fic-) Newbery Medal, 1973 While running away from home and an unwanted marriage, a thirteen-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the North Slope of Alaska and is befriended by a wolf pack.

Potlatch : a Tsimshian celebration
Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane. - Holiday House, New York : c1997. (394.2) Describes the traditions of the Tsimshian Indians living in Metlakatla, Alaska, and, in particular, those connected with a potlatch they hold to celebrate their heritage.

Summer coat, winter coat : the story of a snowshoe hare 
Boyle, Doe. - Soundprints, Norwalk, Conn. : c1993. (-E-) As the seasons pass, Snowshoe Hare's coat changes from brown to white and back to brown again, helping her to blend into her habitat and avoid predators as she searches for food.


Toughboy and sister 
Hill, Kirkpatrick. - Puffin Books, New York : 1992. (-Fic-) The death of their drunken father strands ten-year-old Toughboy and his younger sister at a remote fishing cabin on the Yukon River near Ruby, Alaska, where they spend a summer trying to cope with dwindling food supplies and hostile wildlife.

Winter camp 
Hill, Kirkpatrick. - Puffin Books, New York, N.Y. : 1995. (-Fic-)Sequel to : Toughboy and Sister. Eleven-year-old Toughboy and his younger sister must survive the harsh Alaskan winter at a friend's winter trapping camp.