Books of the Year

2021-2023 Theme: Healing What Divides Us

A bitter presidential election, a weakened economy, racial equity protests, a pandemic that has left hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens dead, and an insurrection at the national Capitol.  Americans are acknowledging and facing a level and depth of division rarely seen in this country.  These divisions stem from and affect many aspects of our daily lives, from which media we use and trust to where we shop to who we spend time with and even date. Families and marriages have felt the strain.  Misinformation, disinformation, divisive rhetoric, social media bubbles, and more have left many of us uncertain about who or what to trust and where the country is headed. What can and should Americans do to reach across these divides and begin to heal?  Join us for important discussions based on common texts addressing these questions.

Common intellectual experiences -- like Books of the Year programs – are a recognized, evidence-based High Impact Practice that supports student success. UAA and APU faculty have selected seven books to use over the next two years as the basis for these discussions.
We invite you to join the conversation around these texts and the overarching theme of "Building Community Resilience." Please participate in upcoming events and partner with us to create meaningful programming for our community to engage in this ever-relevant topic.

Previous Books of the Year Speakers

  • Drawdown book cover

    Renown Speaker Paul Hawken

    Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, author and activist who has dedicated his life to environmental sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. Paul is editor of the book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, a UAA Book of the Year. He is founder of Project Drawdown, a non-profit dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed. The organization maps and models the scaling of 100 substantive technological, social, and ecological solutions to global warming. His forthcoming book is entitled Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation.


    • Climate Change Initiatives in Alaska
      Feb. 13, 2020 | UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307
    • Drawdown: Solutions For Ending the Climate Crisis
      Feb. 13, 2020 | UAA Wendy Williamson Auditorium

    Kate Troll

    A Talk By Author Kate Troll


    Kate Troll is an op-ed columnist, author, and speaker on conservation and climate issues. She moved to Alaska in 1977, seeking a career in natural resource management. Altogether, Kate worked for 22 years in coastal management, fisheries and climate/energy policy. She is the former executive director of the Alaska Conservation Voters, former director of United Fishermen of Alaska, and recently served on the board of directors for the Renewable Energy Alaska Project.

    • Alaska Beyond Oil
      Feb. 11, 2020 | UAA Arts Building, Room 117
  • Dhar Jamail

    Journalist and Author Dhar Jamail Presents: The End of Ice


    Most recently a Truthout staff reporter, Jamail authored The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate DisruptionThe Will to Resist: Solders Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq and has won many awards.

    • Nov. 20, 2019 | UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307
  • Rick Thoman

    Climate Specialist Dr. Rick Thoman of the International Arctic Research Center and the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy



    • Communicating Climate Science
      Oct. 28, 2019 | UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307
    • Going Up: On the Elevator of Climate Change
      Oct. 28, 2019 | UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307
  • Mary Kudenov

    Mary Kudenov | Author of Threadbare: Class and Crime in Urban Alaska

    Thursday, October 10 from 7:00-9:00pm | UAA ConocoPhillips Integrated Sciences Building, Room CPSB 120

    Mary is the author of Threadbare: Class and Crime in Urban Alaska, a series of essays exploring life in Anchorage at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. She hold a MFA in Creative Writing from UAA and her work has appeared in multiple literary magazines. Thanks to Alaska Airlines for making it possible for Mary to come!


    • A Reading and Talk With Mary Kudenov
      Oct. 10, 2019 | UAA ConocoPhillips Integrated Sciences Building, Room 120
    • Threadbare at UAA: Supporting First Generation Students In and Outside of the Classroom
      Oct. 11, 2019 | UAA Gorsuch Commons, Room 106
  • Katharine Hayhoe

    Evangelical Climate Scientist Katharine Hayhoe Speaks at UAA

    Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on developing and applying high-resolution climate projections to understand what climate change means for people and the natural environment. She is a professor at Texas Tech University where she directs its Climate Science Center. Katharine is also an evangelical Christian, known for talking about climate change in an accessible way with a wide variety of audiences. Katharine has served as a lead author for the Second, Third, and Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessments.


    • Shaping Alaska’s Energy Future: How Alaskans Can Meet Their Energy Needs and Tackle Climate Challenges
      Sept. 11, 2019 | UAA Wendy Williamson Auditorium
    • Conversation With Scientists About Their Role in Addressing the Climate Crisis
      Sept. 12, 2019 | UAA/APU Consortium Library, Room 307
    Panel discussion with Jacqui Patterson, Princess Daazhrall Johnson and Sama Seguinot-Medina.

    And the People Shall Lead: Centering Frontline Communities' Leadership for Racial and Environmental Justice

    • Jacqui Patterson, Director, NAACP's national Environmental and Climate Justice Program
    • Princess Daazhraii Johnson, Neet'saii Gwich'in, board member of Native Movement and former director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee; and 
    • Sama Seguinot-Medina, Environmental Health Program Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT)

    This Books of the Year panel event discussed the intersections of racial justice, environmental health, and community empowerment.

  • The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice.Written by Winona LaDuke.

    Winona LaDuke Speaking on Climate Change

    Conversations and Presentations

    • Presentation - The Next Energy Economy: Grassroots Strategies to Mitigate Global Climate Change, and How We Move Ahead
    • Leading from the Heart: Activism, Identity and Community Empowerment Conversation between Winona and E.J. David, UAA Psychology, followed by discussion.
    • All Our Relations: Environmental Justice and Community Empowerment Conversation between Winona and Viola (“Vi”) Waghiyi, Environmental Health and Justice Program Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, followed by discussion
    • Indigenous Resistance and Community Empowerment Conversation between Winona and Heather Kendall Miller, Native American Rights Fund, followed by discussion.

    Winona LaDuke is an internationally renowned award-winning human rights and environmental activist working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth reservations in northern Minnesota, and is a two-time Green Party vice presidential candidate. She works nationally and internationally on issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities.