Deb Vanasse
DEB VANASSE


Why We Care: Detroit's Little Library Challenge

by Debra Vanasse on 10/21/14

At the Little Free Library on Hiland Mountain


Never has there been so much noise about books, publishing, and authorship. Or so much handwringing. Amazon vs. Hatchette. The Big Five vs. the Little Guys. Sound bites vs. sustained immersion. Upheaval, bottom to top.


Let’s set that aside for a moment to focus on one simple precept: the power of the book to transform. Then extend that to an entire community that’s taking on the big, big challenge of transforming itself through the power of books.



I write my books from a little house on an Alaska mountainside that’s 3000 miles from Detroit. My closest Little Free Library is another three miles up the mountain, along a winding road with views of Cook Inlet and, on clear days, a big beautiful mountain, which we Alaskans call Denali.


Distance and differences aside, I’m rooting for Detroit’s Little Free Library Challenge. Kim Kozlowski’s IndieGoGo project is all about the things we Alaskans believe in: community, resilience, and self-reliance, empowered by a deep and transcending appreciation—call it love—for the spaces around us.


The goal of Detroit’s Little Library Challenge is to make their city the Little Free Library capital of the world, with a phase one goal of setting up 313 Little Free Libraries. It’s good press for a place that’s had more than its share of bad. But the Challenge is also about the fundamental transformations that happen through books. Readers are smarter than non-readers, with above average emotional intelligence and empathy. The number of books in a home is the single best indicator of how well a child will do in school. Reading reduces stress and improves sleep. All good things for a community that’s looking to make a comeback.


We’re rooting for them, all the way up here. Along with other Alaska Authors, I’m donating books to seed an Alaska Little Free Library on the streets of Detroit, a reminder that when times are tough, it doesn’t matter where you live—we all come together.


But for this Little Free Library to become a reality, we need your help. For just sixteen dollars, you can do your part to make it happen. Let’s show Detroit some love!


If you’re an author, Detroit’s Little Libraries project is accepting donations of autographed books to seed regionally-themed libraries as part of their Ambassador option. But for those libraries to be built, they also need cash, so please join in this outpouring of love and affirmation by pledging your support today(For Alaska: 16 authors bringing 4 pledgers each, and we'll meet our goal!) 

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In precise and evocative prose, Cold Spell tells the parallel stories of a mother who risks everything to start over and a daughter whose longings threaten to undo them.
"Vanasse is talented: she can turn ordinary words into the sublime...Readers who enjoy richly drawn characters trying to make sense of their surroundings will enjoy this cool and refreshing, yet haunting, glimpse of flawed souls."
Foreword Reviews
"Grabs you from the opening line and never lets go." 
Publishers Weekly
"Captures the harsh beauty of the terrain as well as the strain of self-doubt and complicated family bonds." 
~ Booklist
Coming Soon!
Wealth Woman: Kate Carmack and the Last Great Race for Gold
"One of Alaska's leading storytellers" ~ Library Journal