Alaska: A Great Frontier


“Sweet Home Alaska,” by Carole Estby Dagg, is very interesting and describes what it was like to be a pioneer in the 1930s settling in a place without a market, store, or a church.

This is a fictionalized story based on President Franklin Roosevelt’s efforts to help families rebuild during the Great Depression. The author used the history of the Palmer Colony project to write a story from her imagination about what it would have been like to move to a settlement in Alaska.

The main character in this book is Terpsichore, named after the Greek goddess of dance. She has twin sisters named Cally and Polly and a younger brother named Matthew. Terpsichore’s father loses his job in Wisconsin. Around that same time, the U.S. government holds a lottery for families to move to Alaska to help settle it. Terpsichore’s father decides to enter the lottery to start a new life.

This thrilling and educational book takes the reader through the journey that Terpsichore and her family make. Terpsichore learns what family really means, and what really matters in life. One example is when Terpsichore’s mother feels that the uncivilized wild of Alaska is too much for her. Her mother says that she will take the next train that pulls in back to Wisconsin. Terpsichore loves Alaska and does not want to move again so she tries to find a way to make her mother stay. In the end, Terpsichore’s mother does not leave and she finds that it does not matter where you live, or how uncivilized it is, that family will always come together.

This heart touching book is good for young people aged 9-12. I would not recommend it to younger readers because there are some big words and ideas. I really liked this book because I personally love books that have a good twist and help you imagine what it was like in the olden days. I think the author could have added some more adventure because children usually like a good adventure story. This book is also a good summer reading book and a nice break from school assignments.

Just remember, when you enter to read this book, you enter a story, for a sweet home in Alaska.