Indoor scenes focus on the faces and body language of the characters, with a wider range of color in clothing and home furnishings. The northern lights, described as “quivering bands of color,” are ethereal, evoking in their fluid swirls the movement and changing colors of the aurora borealis.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Speaking of Hanukkah in Alaska...
Okay, so Hanukkah is over. But I can’t resist mentioning a second, earlier picture book about celebrating Hanukkah in
Alaska, Diana Conway’s Northern Lights: A Hanukkah Story. Conway, who lives across from me in Halibut Cove, published
the story in 1994 with Kar-Ben Publishing, a publisher specializing in Jewish children’s
books. Kachemak Bay
This tale begins in a Yup’ik village on the
Bering Sea, where Sara and her physician father have just
flown in to see his patients. Grounded by the weather, they spend Hanukkah with
a Yup’ik family, exchanging food, stories, and traditions. Sara entertains her
hosts with a retelling of the Hanukkah story. Together they improvise a
Hanukkah celebration with an “Eskimo menorah,” capped off by a stunning display
of northern lights.
A few Yup’ik words are used in the text. These are explained in context and given a pronunciation guide in a front note.
The book is illustrated by Shelly Haas. No notes on the artwork are provided but to my untrained eye the medium appears to be watercolor with some pen and ink lines. Outdoor hues of blues, purples, and pinks, often spattered with white and blue crystals of blowing snow, capture the essence of the winter landscape in a northern village.