Speaking Volumes: As Alaska turns 60, learn more about America’s last frontier

Alaska is the largest and most sparsely populated U.S. state. It’s known for its rugged and diverse terrain of open spaces, mountains and forests, with abundant wildlife.

It’s a destination for outdoor activities such as skiing, mountain biking and kayaking. Massive Denali National Park is home to Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million, it achieved statehood in January 1959.

Enjoy these books with an Alaska theme available at your Manatee County library:

In the shadow of Denali,” by co-authors Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse, is a new series set in Alaska that features authentic settings and rich history at the height of Alaska’s renaissance.

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new Curry Hotel near the foot of Mount McKinley, called Denali by the natives. John is the wilderness guide and Cassidy works in the kitchen. The hotel staff is preparing for the President’s historic visit to dedicate the new national park on his way to driving in the golden spike to officially complete the Alaska Railroad.

Allan Brennan, an apprentice to the Alaska guide, has hopes of discovering the truth about his father’s death on the mountain for which the guide is blamed. He finds an ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to unravel the mystery, they find that things are more dangerous than either could ever imagine.

This exciting book is also available in e-book format.

“The Great Alone,” by bestselling author Kristin Hannah, is an unforgettable portrait of love, war and survival. Vietnam POW Ernt Allbright is a changed and volatile man. Upon losing his job, he moves his family north to the Alaskan frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni is caught in the backlash of her parents’ stormy relationship. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers where they find an independent community of strong men and women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

This is an unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, and the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of Alaska, a place of incomparable beauty and danger.

“Raven Stole the Moon” is a stunning novel from Garth Stein. It’s an unforgettable story of a grieving mother’s return to a remote Alaskan town to make peace with the loss of her son.

Jenna must sift through the beliefs of her ancestors, the Tlingit, who still tell of powerful, menacing forces at work in the Alaskan wilderness.

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Cathy Habora is a staff member at the Braden River Branch Library. Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday in the Bradenton Herald.