Totem Tale: A Tall Tale from Alaska by Deb Vanasse

Totem Tale

In Books, Children's Books by Deb Vanasse

More than a book!


Under  full Alaska moon, a totem pole comes to life. Grizzly, Beaver, Frog, and Raven scratch, stretch, and become free at last. But when the first hint of dawn appears on the horizon, the totems have to reassemble in the proper order before morning, and each covets the place on top. A tale of cooperation and remembrance.

Vanasse’s engagement with Alaska Native culture began when she taught school in Bush Alaska. Her son,  given the “Eskimo name” of Tuluksak elder John M. Alexie, learned Yup’ik at the same time he learned English.

A modern folktale, lavishly illustrated by Erik Brooks.

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Totem Tales has its own sound track!


Each song is a theme for one of the animal characters in Totem Tale. Click on a song. Spring, LEAP, twirl, SLAP, swoop, and Wriggle to your heart’s content! Try to guess which animal goes with each song.

Written and performed by Terry Hunt at Mountain Sound Digital Media for a theatrical production by the Methow Valley Community School. Terry hopes to inspire you to create your own totem dances as you explore Vanasse’s book.

Coloring pages by illustrator Erik Brooks

To print, simply right click and select

Coloring Book Page: Animals Coloring Book Page Beaver Coloring Book Page: Raven


Totem Tales bookmarks

Lesson Plan Grades K-3

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To print, right click and select “print.”


Totem Tales Lesson Plan