... an extraordinary tale of love, betrayal, and above all, survival, as a group of young Alaskan Natives are transplanted from their home villages to a parochial boarding school in the Alaskan wilderness. Through their stories, Edwardson reminds us that the landscape we see is also the landscape of our soul, whether arctic tundra or urban canyons. This is a novel that, like landscape, marks a reader’s soul forever.
– Ellen Levine, author of Freedom’s Children
We think of the Civil Rights Movement as something that happened in the south, but here is a book from the far north that shows a different, and equally important, side of it. In the hands of a lesser writer, this could have been an unbearably dark and difficult story, but Debby Dahl Edwardson brings to it such deep love and intelligence that the reader experiences not only the anger and tears of these memorable characters, but also their joy and ultimate triumph. The words soar off the page and then, beautifully, bring us home.
– Helen Frost, author of Crossing Stones
My Name is Not Easy
A National Book Award Finalist
"The elders say the earth has turned over seven times, pole to pole, north to south.
Freezing and thawing, freezing and thawing,
flipping over and tearing apart.
We were there.
We were always there.
They say no one survived the ice age but they’re wrong.
There were seven ice ages and we survived.
We survived them all . . ."
"Debby Edwarson’s My Name is Not Easy brought me to tears as I remembered the loneliness and confusion I felt when I left my home and family in Arctic Alaska for boarding school thousands of miles away. This young adult novel evokes a time and place in the Alaska Native World that is important to remember, when far off governments and powerful institutions made decisions that began to change our world, challenging us to find new ways to survive. It is an excellent work of fiction with important truths to be remembered."
– William L. Iggigruk Hensley, Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People
Geoge and Debby Edwardson talk about My Name is Not Easy.
The National Book Award 2011 Teen Press Conference
Debby and the other finalists read from their books and answer teen questions.