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Dance on a Sealskin

Dance on a Sealskin
written by Barbara Winslow, illustrated by Teri Sloat
GACPC, 1995

Available in paperback from Alaska Northwest Books (imprint of GACPC)!

• Sierra Club Reviewer's Choice: A beautifully told and illustrated story of culture.
• Notable Social Studies Trade Book: Starred Selector Choice
• Parent Council Choice
• Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books Choice


School Library Journal: A story that captures the importance of dance as an active expression of the Yup'ik Eskimo culture and the significance of passing on traditions from one generation to the next. The book, like the songs and dances performed at a potlatch to convey oral history, combines powerful writing and vivid illustrations to capture the joy of giving and sharing among the Yup'ik people.

Kirkus: …readers will get a perceptive, unselfconcious look at how new and old comingle in a modern potlatch…and in Sloat's lively paintings the animals themselves seem to rise up and join the action.

Booklist: Sloat's colorful drawings are particularly effective in showing the mix of modern and traditional elements…it will make a welcome addition to Arctic and Eskimo units.

About the Book

The writer, Barbara Winslow, and I have known each other for over 30 years. She and her husband taught in a village on one mouth of the Yukon River. Bob and I taught in a village on the north mouth that was 50 miles away. We would travel by snow machine and boat to visit each other.

Like Annie in the book, Barbara and I were taught to dance by older women in the villages and did our first dances at potlatches. One village would invite another to share 2 days of dancing and gift-giving with each other. We danced in parkas like Annie's, covered with bright cloth, and I had a wolverine ruff around the hood. Our husbands danced too—Bob wore a parka made of fox skins. For my son, Matt, who was 2 or 3, I made a rabbit skin parka and sealskin boots, mukluks, and he danced on the side!


© Teri Sloat 2006