Teaching the children in an Athabascan village in a one-room schoolhouse on the Alaskan frontier in 1948 is not every educator’s dream. Then one day, tall, skinny Agnes Sutterfield arrives and life is never the same for the community.
Frederika (Fred), the 10-year-old narrator, discovers that unlike previous teachers, Miss Agnes doesn’t mind the smell of fish that the children bring for lunch each day. Miss Agnes immediately packs away the old textbooks, hangs up the children’s brightly colored artwork, plays opera music, and reads them Robin Hood and Greek myths. She even learns sign language along with her students so that Fred’s deaf sister can attend school.
Hill introduces readers to a whole community and makes a long-ago and faraway place seem very much alive. This is an inspirational story about Alaska, the old and new ways, a very special teacher, and the influence that she has over everyone she meets.