By Debby Dahl Edwardson
Nutaaq adores her older sister, Aaluk, and the happy world of their close-knit Iñupiaq village. When Aaluk goes across the sea to marry a Siberian Inuit man, she gives Nutaaq a gift from her husband's people: two precious cobalt blue beads. Through the months that follow, as a great shadow falls over the village, the beads remind Nutaaq of the people she loves, and hold out hope that she might connect with her sister again.
Blessing's life in the city is unpredictable, with a mother who's sometimes wonderful and sometimes gone. When Mom finally can't take care of her anymore, Blessing is sent to live in a remote Arctic village with a grandmother she barely remembers. In her new home, unfriendly girls whisper in a language she doesn't understand, and Blessing feels like an outsider among her own people. Until she looks in her grandmother's sewing tin--and finds a cobalt blue bead.
How might Blessing discover her place in her family and community? And will Nutaaq's hope ever be fulfilled? Tracing four generations of bonds and breakage within one Iñupiaq family, Blessing's Bead is a lovely and surprising novel about trauma, survival, and the healing power of culture and stories.
About the Creators
Debby Dahl Edwardson is the acclaimed author of three books for young readers: Blessing's Bead; My Name Is Not Easy, which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and the picture book Whale Snow. She married into and has lived for more than forty years among the Inupiat people of Alaska, of which she says, "It is not the culture I was not born into but it is the one I belong to, the one that has become home to me as a human being and as an artist." She lives in Utqiagvik, Alaska, the northernmost community on the North American continent, with her husband.