The Eye of the Needle
retold and illustrated by Teri Sloat
based on a Yup'ik tale as told by Betty Huffman
Available in paperback from Alaska
Northwest Books (imprint of GACPC)!
Golden Book Club: Editor's Choice
Troll Book Club
Maryland State Reading List
Northern Ink: When a child asks to read a book
over and over, it is a sign that something in the book works. The
illustrations are realistic and fantastical, with historically appropriate
a colorful, humorous retelling
of a Yup'ik folktale about a boy's uncontrolled hunger.
About the Book
When my husband and I lived
in Alaska, I met Betty Huffman who tells wonderful stories. She
grew up in Goodnews Bay with a Yup'ik mother and a French Canadian
father who opened many of the first stores up the river from her
home. She told me the story Eye of the Needle that was full
of scenes I wanted to draw. Some of my favorite stories are ones
that teach and this taught a great lesson about not being greedy.
Illustrating the story did not turn out to be easy.
I had a hard time finding pictures of the insides of the huts from
long ago. It took a lot of research and asking questions to find
out that many things were made of grassthe floor mats, many
of the bags and baskets, etc. I also found out how seal oil was
burned to warm the hut in special containers, and so you need a
way to let the smoke out which was the hole in Grandma's roof. There
were so many interesting things to learn about how people lived
by using the natural resources around them.
I am now illustrating another book that Betty
and I have written. It tells the story of why so many kinds of berries
are found on the tundra.