Friday, August 10, 2012

The Wind Is Not a River

The Wind Is Not a River by Arnold A. Griese is an amazing piece of historical fiction set in a place that is often overlooked in World War II studies— on Attu Island at the edge of the Aleutian Chain.

From the back cover:

A quiet Sunday morning, June 8, 1942, on the lsland of Attu, off the Alaskan coast. Sasan and her younger brother, Sidak are on their way to church when they realize that their village will soon be taken over by the Japanese army. Escaping the invaders, they helplessly watch the capture of the village. Now, hiding out in the hills, they must take their food and shelter from the land the same way their Aleut ancestors did. And when they discover a wounded Japanese soldier on the beach, their belief in the old ways, which Grandmother taught, is put to a crucial test.

Ages: 7-10
Pages: 128
List Price: $9.95
Cover: Paperback
Published: 11/1/1995 (originally published in 1978)
ISBN: 1-56397-564-5
ISBN-13: 978-1-56397-564-6

I first devoured this book several years ago and hope to work it into my classroom this year. If you’re looking for an exciting story with well-developed characters that will provide you with a window into a unique time and place, then I’d recommend The Wind Is Not a River.

I’ve also read and enjoyed another of Griese’s middle grade novels, At the Mouth of the Luckiest River where “a physically impaired Athabaskan boy defies the odds and becomes a great medicine man in this true story set in nineteenth-century Alaska.” Library Journal gave it a starred review.

These are both classic Alaskan middle grade novels with really cool illustrations by Glo Coalson.

If you have one, share your favorite MG historical fiction, or one you really enjoyed, in the comments!! I'd love some more titles.

And my little piece of news, my young adult novel, Sacrifice Area, which is set in the future in Alaska, was awarded second prize in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2012 contest in the young adult/middle grade category.

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Hey, Paul. First, congrats on the award. And as for the book, I had never heard of it. I'm not a huge historical fiction guy, but this one seems more my style. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks.

  2. Paul, have you read Karen Hesse's verse novel, Aleutian Sparrow? It's about the same period in history and would be a great companion novel for kids in your class!

    1. Caroline. Thatnks for introducing me to a new book!! :-)

  3. This sounds like a wonderful novel, Paul. Congratulations also on your award!

  4. Paul, congrats on your award! As a kid I was never a big fan of historical fiction, but whenever I was made to read one I quickly fell in love with it. This looks like one of those books! Thanks for sharing this!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!