Debby Dahl Edwardson

writing from the top of the world

A Teacher's Guide!

For Native American Month: a teacher's guide for My Name is Not Easy: Download below.

"The problem is not that it's too difficult for children, but that it's too difficult for grown ups. Much of the world view of Einstein's thinking wasn't being taught when the grown ups were in school, but the children were comfortably familiar with it." ⎯Madeline L'Engle

“I used to get asked all the time about the difference between writing for adults and writing for young readers. I finally came to the conclusion that books for adults were about letting go and books for young readers were about getting a grip.

“So much of what I read that is intended for somebody in middle age is about just letting go: ‘Life goes on.’ Whereas with a kid, it’s: ‘Get a grip. You’ve got a lot of crap to get through.’ I love writing about that.”

--Tim Wynne-Jones



My name is Debby and I am a writer. I write stories for young people.

If you haven't seen me, it's because I live far far away and do, indeed, write from the top of the world: Barrow, Alaska, to be exact, the northernmost community on the North American Continent.

I've lived here pretty much all of my adult life—thirty years (don’t do the math!) and this place and its people have shaped who I am as a writer. My husband is Inupiaq (Eskimo) and most of the stories I write are set within this cultural context. It is not the culture I was 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.

As we all do, I write what I know, and through knowing it in my own way, make it my own, something both very old and very new at the same time. Like many other writers, I straddle the distinct and sometimes divergent traditions that make me who I am.

Why do I write? I write to make sense of the world. I write to communicate, in the best way I can, my own unique vision. Everybody has a vision that is theirs alone. Mine has been molded by living with the Iñupiat, the Real People of the Arctic, from whom I have learned much and am still learning. Theirs is a spirit as strong and beautiful as the Arctic itself and, as a writer, I seek always to share this spirit with my readers.

Come Visit My World . . .

My Writing

" extraordinary tale of love, betrayal, and above all, survival." Ellen Levine
Writing for Young People
a novel for young people about love, loss and finding your way home.
A celebration of family and community.