Skip to main content

Vanasse, Deb 1957–

Vanasse, Deb 1957–

(Debra Lynn Lehmann)

PERSONAL: Born September 12, 1957, in St. Paul, MN; married; husband's name Tim; children: Lynx (son), Jessica. Education: Bemidji State University, B.A.; California State University at Dominguez Hills, master's degree. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, writing, traveling, music, dance.

ADDRESSES: Home—AK; winters in Baja, Mexico. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Sasquatch Books, 119 S. Main, Ste. 400, Seattle, WA 98104. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: High school teacher in Nunapitchuk, AK, and other Alaskan villages; university instructor in Bethel, AK, and Fairbanks, AK, 1987–88; North Pole High School, educator, 1988–99; real estate broker.

WRITINGS:

YOUNG-ADULT NOVELS

A Distant Enemy, Lodestar Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Out of the Wilderness, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1999.

PICTURE BOOKS

Alaska Animal Babies, photographs by Gavriel Jecan, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2005.

Under Alaska's Midnight Sun, illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2005.

A Totem Tale, illustrated by Eric Brooks, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: Author Deb Vanasse has spent most of her adult life living in Alaska, much of it teaching high school and college in remote areas. As a result, the unique culture and environment of rural Alaska are key features of her work. Her first two books, A Distant Enemy and Out of the Wilderness, are young adult novels, but since then she has also published several picture books. "I could spend many years and many books attempting to capture the essence of Southwestern Alaska, an area so remote that few people get to experience it firsthand," Vanasse wrote on her home page.

Joseph, the protagonist of A Distant Enemy, is a half-Eskimo, half-white (kass'aq, in the Yup'ik Eskimo language) fourteen-year-old boy who lives in a small, remote Alaskan village. Joseph's kass'aq father abandoned the family to return to "civilization," and Joseph takes out his anger over this abandonment on every other kass'aq whom he encounters. These include the wildlife rangers, who enforce rules that restrict the Yup'ik from fishing, and his English teacher. That teacher, Mr. Townsend, and Joseph's grandfather try to help him, but Joseph still seems to be bent on allowing his rage to destroy him. Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman commented that Vanasse "tries to do too much" in this book, but still praised "the strong sense of place and the drama of Joseph's personal conflict." A Publishers Weekly contributor also praised this aspect of the book, calling A Distant Enemy "a vivid portrait of modern Eskimo lifestyles, conflicts and fears … [and] a sensitive account of one teenager's coming of age."

Josh, the protagonist of Out of the Wilderness, has the opposite problem from Joseph: his father loves the Alaskan wilderness far too much. The man takes fifteen-year-old Josh and Josh's older half-brother, Nathan, out to a remote area, where they build a ten-foot-by-twenty-foot cabin with their own hands and survive by hunting, gathering, and building the things they need. Josh wants nothing more than to return to his friends and school, but Nathan and their father love this life. However, Nathan's passion for the wilderness causes him to take dangerous risks as he tries to get closer to nature, and it falls to Josh to save him. "Pragmatic Josh, intense Nathan, and the boys' guilt-ridden father are intriguingly drawn," Debbie Carton wrote in Booklist, and a Publishers Weekly reviewer deemed the book a "chilling winter's tale."

Under Alaska's Midnight Sun, one of Vanasse's first picture books, examines a unique aspect of life in Alaska: on the solstice (the longest day of the year) the sun never sets. A young girl struggles to stay awake to see the midnight sun, as she, her mother, and her baby brother walk out into the country to observe the animals also frolicking in the late-night sunshine. "The text is fresh and vivid," Carol L. MacKay wrote in School Library Journal, while according to Booklist reviewer Carolyn Phelan it "conveys [the girl's] excitement as well as her determination not to fall asleep before midnight."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

ALAN Review, winter, 2000, Deb Vanasse, "On Taking Ourselves Too Seriously, and Other Tragic Mistakes."

Booklist, January 1, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of A Distant Enemy, p. 846; March 15, 1999, Debbie Carton, review of Out of the Wilderness, p. 1330; May 1, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Under Alaska's Midnight Sun, p. 1594.

Children's Bookwatch, September, 2005, review of Under Alaska's Midnight Sun.

Publishers Weekly, January 13, 1997, review of A Distant Enemy, p. 76; February 15, 1999, review of Out of the Wilderness, p. 108.

School Library Journal, August, 2005, Carol L. MacKay, review of Under Alaska's Midnight Sun, p. 107.

ONLINE

Deb Vanasse Home Page, http://www.debvanasse.com (April 8, 2006).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Vanasse, Deb 1957–." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Vanasse, Deb 1957–." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/vanasse-deb-1957

"Vanasse, Deb 1957–." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved September 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/vanasse-deb-1957

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.