Debby Dahl Edwardson

writing from the top of the world

My Name
is Not Easy

Blessing's Bead

Whale Snow

My Writing

My Name is Not Easy
Marshall Cavendish, 2011

My name is not easy. My name is hard like ocean ice grinding at the shore or wind pounding the tundra or sun so bright on the snow it burns your eyes. My name is all of us huddled up here together, waiting to hear the sound of that plane that’s going take us away, me and my brothers.

"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, author of Fifty Miles from Tomorrow: A Memoir of Alaska and the Real People

Blessing's Bead
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009

A beautiful blue bead connects two Iñupiaq girls from different generations in a stunning debut novel that celebrates the power of story and language to reconnect a family torn apart by tragedy.

“Blessing’s Bead is beautifully seen, glinting with Arctic light. It is also beautifully heard. Edwardson’s voice is as clear and fresh as a wind of the frozen sea. There are passages that simply take your breath away.”
⎯Tim Wynne-Jones, award winning author of the Rex Zero books.

"Blessing’s Bead is a gem—lyrical, fresh, and a compelling story. What a unique and universal tale!" ⎯Marion Dane Bauer, author of Newbery Honor Book, On My Honor

Whale Snow
Charlesbridge, 2003.

A celebration of family and community.

"Filled with joy, this tale about a loving family and a caring community is something all youngsters can understand."

--School Library Journal

My Classes for Writers & Teachers


Picture Book Workshop: Writing Text for Children's Picture Books

This class will explore the constantly evolving art form of the picture book, in which words and images each constitute a part of the whole. You will read and analyze a wide range of published picture books, examining the many ways in which text interacts with image in a picture book. Students will participate in an ongoing evaluation of their own work.

First Steps: Introduction to Writing for Children

This class is for those who have read children's books as readers, parents or teachers, but have never tried to write one, those who want to write for children but are unfamiliar with children's literature, those who are just beginning to work on stories for children, and those who have tried and are feeling stumped. We will discuss the variety of forms within this genre, and learn the basics of writing for young readers.

Through Ilisagvik College:

ANS 239 Alaska Native/​Native American Children’s Literature—online

ENGL 293 Writing for Children--online

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.