Praise for John Smelcer:
"Smelcer's anger about these stolen children is apparent but controlled, and he provides a well-judged balance of horror and hope, with the friendship among his protagonists giving the book heart." --Horn Book
"A poignant story of colonization and assimilation, something I know a little bit about. A masterpiece." --Chinua Achebe
"Smooth, cadenced telling. . . . The four protagonists are accessibly teen, which gives their plight an immediacy." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Smelcer's prose is lyrical, straightforward, and brilliant . . . authentic Native Alaskan storytelling at its best." --School Library Journal starred review
"A spare tale of courage, love and terrible obstacles." --Wall Street Journal
"A thought-provoking and moving coming-of-age story." --Publishers Weekly
"Heart-tugging moments of clarity and poignancy that recall Jean Craighead George's Julie of the Wolves." --Booklist
"This writer speaks from the land, and for the land, and the people who belong to it." --Ursula K. Le Guin
Kiska's home in the Aleutian Islands is a peaceful paradise until Japan invades in 1942. Soon after, a US naval ship arrives to evacuate everyone in her village to an internment camp almost 2,000 miles away--where they are forgotten. Informed by true events, this is the story of a teenage girl who steps up when her people need a hero.
John Smelcer is the author of over forty books, including essays, story collections, poetry, adult novels, and six YA novels.
See commentary by John Smelcer on NPR's Code Switch, Feb. 21, 2017, in which the author discusses the Aleut evacuation and its context and effects.
John Smelcer is the poetry editor of Rosebud magazine and the author of more than forty books, including the recent young adult novels Lone Wolves, Edge of Nowhere, and Savage Mountain (Leapfrog Press, 2013, 2014, 2015). He is an Alaskan Native of the Ahtna tribe, and is now the last tribal member who reads and writes in Ahtna. John holds degrees in anthropology and archaeology, linguistics, literature, and education. He also holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Binghamton University, and formerly chaired the Alaska Native Studies program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His first novel, The Trap, was an American Library Association BBYA Top Ten Pick, a VOYA Top Shelf Selection, and a New York Public Library Notable Book. The Great Death was short-listed for the 2011 William Allen White Award, and nominated for the National Book Award, the BookTrust Prize (England), and the American Library Association's Award for American Indian YA Literature. His Alaska Native mythology books include The Raven and the Totem (introduced by Joseph Campbell). His short stories, poems, essays, and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines, and he is winner of the 2004 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award and of the 2004 Western Writers of America Award for Poetry for his collection Without Reservation, which was nominated for a Pulitzer. John divides his time between a cabin in Talkeetna, the climbing capitol of Alaska, where he wrote much of Lone Wolves, and Kirksville Mo., where he is a visiting scholar in the Department of Communications Studies at Truman State University.
John Smelcer is the winner of the 2004 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award and of the 2004 Western Writers of America Award for Poetry for his collection Without Reservation, which was nominated for a Pulitzer.
Lone Wolves was chosen for ALA's Amelia Bloomer book list.
Edge of Nowhere is on the Alaska Library Association's 2014 Battle of the Books list.
The Great Death
- Nominated for The National Book Award, the BookTrust Prize (England), and the American Library Association's Award for American Indian YA Literature
- Listed along with The Incredible Journey as one of the greatest adventure stories in The Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature (foreword by Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked)
- Short-listed for the 2011 William Allen White Book Award for Children's Literature.