Skip to main content
Shopping cart: items Cart

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

Kayak Girl

Illustrated by Mindy Dwyer

Distributed for University of Alaska Press

Kayak Girl

Illustrated by Mindy Dwyer

In Kayak Girl a young child learns to cope with serious loss by focusing on something larger than herself. After Jana’s mother dies, she becomes withdrawn. Her grandfather, a carver, pays the girl a visit and finds her unresponsive to his care. He carves a figure of a girl in a kayak and asks Jana to promise that she will watch for the figure after he releases it upriver. Through the following seasons, Jana goes to the river daily and finds strength in the positive memories from her short time with her mother, even as she imagines the distant kayak girl’s struggles. Eventually, they are reunited, and Jana’s spirit is revived. Throughout the book, watercolor illustrations take readers to a magical place along an Alaska river and demonstrate the power of memory and a sense of place in the natural world.

32 pages | 10 x 8 1/2 | © 2012


University of Alaska Press image

View all books from University of Alaska Press


"The wonderful, sensitive paintings that illustrate Kayak Girl recreate the beauty of an Alaskan riverside landscape along with the beauty of treasured memories of a mother’s love and care. Kayak Girl is perfect for kids age 7 and up, helping them to deal with issues of loss and restoration."

The Midwest Book Review

"This is a beautiful children’s story that deals with a very sensitive subject. . . . This book provides an outstanding example of the Alaskan culture and traditions. The story deals with feelings in a way that children will understand. I highly recommend this book for children of all ages."

Janette Fuller, retired elementary school librarian

"Set in rural Alaska, Kayak Girl is a touching tribute to the power of memories and a grandfather’s love."

Deb Vanasse, author of Lucy’s Dance and Black Wolf of the Glacier

Table of Contents

Kayak Girl
A story by Monica Devine
Illustrated by Mindy Dwyer

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press