Sealaska Heritage



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Sealaska Heritage sponsors Baby Raven Reads, an award-winning program that promotes early-literacy, language development and school readiness for Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. The pilot program in Juneau ended in 2017, and SHI received funding to offer the program for another three years and to expand it to nine other communities in Southeast Alaska. SHI—in partnership with Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) Head Start program—will offer the three-year program in Juneau, Angoon, Craig, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Petersburg, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell and Yakutat through 2020. 

Baby Raven Reads improves early literacy skills by translating cultural strengths into home literacy practices. Baby Raven Reads provides family literacy events, training for care providers, and professional development for early childhood educators.

Latest News

Regular events will resume from September 2019 to May 2020.

New publications are in progress and will be released this fall.

Literacy Events

Family literacy events will occur 9 times a year in each community. Storytelling, songs, and other literacy activities are available to Alaska Native families with children up to age 5.  Through playful and culturally relevant activities with parents, children are provided opportunities to practice and develop skills such as oral language, phonological awareness, print awareness, and letter knowledge. 

Schedule coming soon.  

Baby Raven Books

Baby Raven Reads publications are a collection based on the cultural themes of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. The illustrations in the Baby Raven Reads series reflect the importance of family, subsistence, and our land.  From baby board books to early readers and read a-louds, babies to adults can find joy in reading together. Families enrolled in Baby Raven Reads will receive Baby Raven Reads books with literacy activities to do at home. Books are also available through the Sealaska Heritage Store. (Read a Review)  

Community Liaisons

Community liaisons are the point of contact in communities for all communications regarding the project.

  • Angoon: Shiann Kookesh
  • Craig: Loni Lingley
  • Juneau: Miriah Twitchell
  • Hoonah: Jamie Erickson
  • Petersburg: Debra Eddy
  • Saxman: Gabriella Daniels
  • Sitka: Sydney Evenson
  • Wrangell: Delila Ramirez 
  • Yakutat: Akasha Moulton

For individual contact information, please email Community Coordinator Susie Edwardson at 

Literacy Activities 

The following lesson plans were developed by SHI staff for the Baby Raven Reads program. SHI encourages parents and teachers to download them for their own use.

Alphabet lessons

Am'ala lessons (for use with the Baby Raven Reads book Am'ala)

"Berries" lessons (for use with the Baby Raven Reads book Picking Berries)

"Colors" lessons (for use with the Baby Raven Reads book Colors)

More lesson plans coming soon!


Audio Resources

SHI's Language Podcast includes the following episodes related to the Baby Raven Reads series:

  • Colors in Sm'algyax
  • Colors in Xaad Kíl​
  • Colors in Tlingit
  • Baby Raven
  • Baby Eagle
  • Haida Baby Raven 
  • Haida Baby Eagle

Tlingit audio for the Baby Raven Reads book Shanyaak'utlaax - Salmon Boy is available here.  



Baby Raven Reads was recognized in 2017 by the Library of Congress, which gave SHI its 2017 Best Practice Honoree award (watch a video short of former Education Director Jackie Kookesh accepting the award). In February 2018, the  American Indian Library Association awarded SHI's book Shanyaak'utlaax: Salmon Boy its American Indian Youth Literature Best Picture Book Award winner.  Also in February 2018, SHI’s Baby Raven book How Devil’s Club Came to Be was reviewed by the American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog as a recommended title.