The Alutiiq Museum in partnership with the Native Village of Afognak just released the last of 12 Alutiiq language books for young people. The project draws on local writers and artists to work together on print and e-books.
Most recently, Alutiiq Museum executive director April Laktonen Counceller authored a book, which is called “Kaugya’angcum Qawangurtuwa” or “Small Fox’s Dream.”
She says the story is about a fox getting ready for school and says she set out to write a book with a narrative.
“I was just thinking about the types of books that were still needed for the preschool that is planned and the daycare that is opened for the Alutiiq language, and they wanted books that told a story and that had different endings, not just the ‘this is big and this is small,’ because we’d already done a number of books like that.”
Laktonen Counceller says she wrote in Alutiiq with editing help from a group of elders who come into the Alutiiq Museum on a regular basis.
She says, after she wrote the book, they submitted the text and its English translation to the illustrator, local artist Mary Ruskovich.
“It was just like opening a Christmas present. I was so excited to see what the artist’s interpretation of this character would look like, and it’s really spot on. It’s just adorable, really cute paintings that are incorporated into the book and I’m just tickled pink to see this come together.”
Along with Laktonen Counceller’s book, the Alutiiq Museum has released “Ptarmigan” by Candace Branson, which is for older learners.