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A magical realistic middle grade debut about the origin story of the Iñupiaq Messenger Feast, a Native Alaskan tradition.

As his family prepares for winter, a young, skilled hunter must travel up the mountain to collect obsidian for knapping―the same mountain where his two older brothers died.

When he reaches the mountaintop, he is immediately confronted by a terrifying eagle god named Savik. Savik gives the boy a choice: follow me or die like your brothers.

What comes next is a harrowing journey to the home of the eagle gods and unexpected lessons on the natural world, the past that shapes us, and the community that binds us.

Eagle Drums is part cultural folklore, part origin myth about the Messenger’s Feast – which is still celebrated in times of bounty among the Iñupiaq. It’s the story of how Iñupiaq people were given the gift of music, song, dance, community, and everlasting tradition.

Newbery Honor Book
American Indian in Youth Literature Award Honor Book
A NPR Best Book of the Year
An Evanston Public Library Great Book for Kids
A BookPage Best Middle Grade Book of 2023
A 2024 Notable Book for a Global Society
A 2024 Notable Social Studies Trade Book
2024 Bank Street Best Book of the Year

"A soaring story of family and courage, culture and community, wonder and resilience.” ―CYNTHIA LEITICH SMITH, anthologist of Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

“An epic journey in every sense of the word, Eagle Drums is a new classic. Pinja welcomes the reader to travel with him on this treacherous quest and by the time his voyage is complete, you will grieve, struggle, and celebrate alongside him.” ―DONNA BARBA HIGUERA, author of Newbery Medal winner The Last Cuentista

“Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson has accomplished something truly monumental. Through her impressive talents as a writer and artist, Rainey shares cultural teachings and, indeed, the art of storytelling with readers of all ages. Eagle Drums is a masterpiece!” ―ANGELINE BOULLEY, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Firekeeper's Daughter

“Tears at this beautiful story. Where were these books when I was a teen?!” ―CAROLE LINDSTROM, author of Caldecott Medal winner We Are Water Protectors

"Eagle Drums is a deeply compelling folktale brought to life. Readers of any age will be swept away by this fascinating story."―DAN GEMEINHART, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Midnight Children

“"I'll read anything Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson writes. She never fails to pull me in and keep me guessing as to what will happen next. Her masterful storytelling in Eagle Drums is superb and not to be missed.” ―TRACI SORRELL, award-winning author of Indian No More

★ "Eagle Drums marks the impressive debut of a gifted writer. Rainey gives readers an engrossing, exciting look into Iñupiaq culture while offering invaluable lessons about the power of community, kinship and celebrations." ―BookPage, starred review

★ "Iñupiaq author and illustrator Hopson enhances the story with full-page color illustrations that visually connect readers with Piŋa’s journey and emphasize the importance of connections to nature, spiritual beings, and human relatives." ―Kirkus, starred review

★ "An authentic, beautiful Alaska Native tale presented as a novel perfect for upper elementary students." ―SLJ, starred review

"The narrative showcases a treasury of details about Native Alaskan life and traditions; enthralling details of building design, clothing, crafts, food storage, nutrition, transportation, and other day-to-day practices in the Arctic will appeal to survival story afficionados as well as readers eager to learn about Indigenous cultures and histories." ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"In this poignant adventure, the creator employs rhythmic prose that echoes the story’s oral traditions and offers illustrations rendered in rich, textured hues." ―Publishers Weekly

"Hopson deftly describes smells (the autumn earth, the “dusty rot” of the Eagle Mother), tastes (berries, roasted caribou meat, bitter Arctic hare fed on willow bark), and sounds (marmot whistles, bumblebees) that bring the land to life for the reader and ground this archetypal hero’s journey in the real world." ―Horn Book

"In her debut, Hopson offers a culturally specific survival story that should have much appeal; an author's note clarifies the source for this tale." ―Booklist



Twenty Voices Celebrating Multicultural and Multiracial Indentities

When identities cross boundaries, with love that knows no bounds.
From platonic and romantic love to grief and heartbreak, these stories explore navigating life at the intersection of identities, and what it means to grow up surrounded by a multitude of traditions, languages, cultures, and interpersonal dynamics.
Returning to a father’s homeland. Trying to fit in at chaotic weddings and lavish birthday parties where not all are welcome. Processing grief at family gatherings. Figuring out how to share the news of a new relationship with loved ones. This collection celebrates multicultural and multiracial characters at the helm of their own narratives, as they approach life with a renewed sense of hope and acceptance.

Nasugraq has a short story about a Inupiaq/African American girl navigating the world of high school Speech competition in Alaska.

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Ten Science Fiction Stories to Rewire Your Perceptions

An amazing collection of science fiction short stories!  Nasugraq has a short story exploring what her culture might look like 300 years in the future.

What does the future hold? Ten speculative short stories by leading young-adult authors imagine what the world could be through the lens of technologies emerging today. When the modification industry transforms how humans look, sound, and interact, a nonbinary teen braves the “reinvention room” to accept a gift from the dead. In an accidental city in space, a young apprentice holds neighborhoods together with braided carbon filaments until distraction and inspiration arrive in the wake of a visitor. Entitlement-fueled drug use alters the landscape of white privilege, robots remember the Earth, and corporate “walkers” stroll for unknown subscribers—until one hacks the system. In tales buzzing with possibility, hope, innovation, anger, and tenderness, Tasting Light offers a dazzling challenge to connect with open minds, hearts, and senses in a fast-changing world.

With stories by:

William Alexander
K. Ancrum
Elizabeth Bear
A.R. Capetta
Charlotte Nicole Davis
Nasugraq Rainey Hopson
A.S. King
E.C. Myers
Junauda Petrus-Nasah
Wendy Xu




15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America

Now available wherever books are sold!  Nasugraq has a short story entitled 'The Cabin' in this wonderful collection of rural authors. The story is about a young Inupiaq woman who encounters a mysterious being in the middle of the arctic wild.

Writing: About

Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America

Edited by Nora Shalaway Carpenter. 2020. 336pp. $18.99. HC. Candlewick Press. 9781536212105. Grades 6-12


“[I]gnorance doesn’t have a zip code,” explains Shae Carys in the contributor write-ups at the back of this story collection, a sentiment that perfectly captures the frustration felt by the fictional characters. Every story in this collection tackles life in small-town America and asks the reader to consider the multiplicity of factors that comprise the identities of the characters, whether they are bisexual and Catholic in a in a poverty-stricken region of Texas, a dreamer who aims to become the first Puerto Rican Rodeo Queen in Utah, or a young Black man lacking class privilege and unsure of how to make his dreams a reality. These stories peel off the layers of the characters through short prose pieces, poetry, and graphic novel panels. The stories span a range of tones, from funny, to heart-breaking, to one that readers will not want to experience alone at night. Fifteen award-winning authors contributed to this collection, including David Bowles, David Macinnis Gill, and Ashley Hope Peréz. The writers bring authentic voices to their work in addition to their biographies, shared at the back of the book. This collection will be a high-interest read for middle and high school students. The stories could also be used in the classroom to inspire a journaling assignment so that students can introspect on the layers of their own identity, or as jumping-off points to examine the power and privilege reflected in some works of classic literature. This book is a must-purchase for libraries serving middle and high school readers.  Elizabeth Andersen, Librarian, Westbrook High School, Westbrook, Maine


Highly Recommended  **Reviews from School Library Connection July 2020**

*Winner of 2 Nautilus Book Awards 2020: Best Mid-grade Fiction, Best overall mid-grade and YA

*YALSA #BFYA2022 Nominee

*A Junior Library Guild selection


*Named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR

*Named Country Living Magazine’s February, 2021 Front Porch Book Club Selection

Candlewick Press Teachers guide

Writing: Quote
Writing: About
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