In Kayak Girl a young child learns to cope with
serious loss by focusing on something larger than
herself. After Jana’s mother dies, she becomes
withdrawn. Her grandfather, a carver, pays the girl
a visit and finds her unresponsive to his care. He
carves a figure of a girl in a kayak and asks Jana to
promise that she will watch for the figure after he
releases it upriver. Through the following seasons,
Jana goes to the river daily and finds strength in
the positive memories from her short time with her
mother, even as she imagines the distant kayak girl’s
struggles. Eventually, they are reunited, and Jana’s
spirit is revived. Throughout the book, watercolor
illustrations take readers to a magical place along an
Alaska river and demonstrate the power of memory
and a sense of place in the natural world.
Monica Devine is the author of several books for
children, including Hanna Bear’s Christmas and Carry
Mindy Dwyer is a children’s book author
This is a beautiful children's story that deals with a very sensitive subject....This book provides an outstanding example of the Alaskan culture and traditions. The story deals with feelings in a way that children will understand. I highly recommend this book for children of all ages.
—Janette Fuller, retired elementary school librarian
The wonderful, sensitive paintings that illustrate Kayak Girl recreate the beauty of an Alaskan riverside landscape along with the beauty of treasured memories of a mother’s love and care. Kayak Girl is perfect for kids age 7 and up, helping them to deal with issues of loss and restoration.