Local artist's illustrations win American Indian Youth Literature award

In the news: Petersburg Pilot reporter Brian Varela interviewed Haida illustrator Janine Gibbons about the recent American Indian Library Association Picture Book Honor award for the Baby Raven Reads book "Raven Makes the Aleutians." 

Sealaska Heritage Institute's book "Raven Makes the Aleutians" was awarded a picture book honor award from the American Indian Library Association. The illustrations in the book were done by local artist Janine Gibbons. 

The story was adapted for children from the works of the late Nora and Dick Dauenhauer, who transcribed it from Tlingit Elders Susie James' and Robert Zuboff's oral accounts.

The book was published in 2018 as part of the Baby Raven Reads series. The books promote literacy to native children five-years-old and younger, through complex and engaging native stories.

“All the books in the series are creating a foundation for all people to understand Indigenous storytelling from our region,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons has also illustrated two other books for the Baby Raven series: "The Woman Who Married the Bear," adapted from a traditional Tlingit narrative by Frank Kaash Katasse, and "The Woman Carried Away by Killer Whales," adapted from a Haida story. 

All of the books in the series are available through the Sealaska Heritage Store and online at


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Baby Raven Reads book wins award with Petersburg artist’s work

Jan 30, 2020

The American Indian Library Association is honoring a 2018 children’s book with illustrations by a Petersburg artist.

“Raven Makes the Aleutians” is part of the Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Baby Raven Reads series. It was named an honor book by the association for 2020. It’s one of three in the series illustrated by Janine Gibbons of Petersburg. Her work helps tell a Tlingit oral tradition story about what happens after the great flood and raven creates land.

Joe Viechnicki spoke with Gibbons about the award.



National awards honor “best of the best” in youth literature

January 27, 2020

(AILA Announcement) (Get the Book) (About Baby Raven Reads)

Sealaska Heritage Institute’s (SHI) Baby Raven Reads book Raven Makes the Aleutians has won a Picture Book Honor award from the American Indian Library Association (AILA).

The AILA, an affiliate of the American Library Association, announced winners of its biennial Youth Media Awards today in Philadelphia, calling the selected books “the best of the best in children’s and young adult literature.”

“There were more excellent books submitted than ever before, including some from major U.S. publishers,” said Lara Aase, 2020 chair of the American Indian Youth Literature Awards. “We chose books that appealed to the young readers we know, and we were thrilled to see writers address contemporary as well as historic and traditional topics.”

“All of us grapple with issues of identity; we are grateful to see authors and illustrators represent the myriad identities of young Indigenous readers,” Aase said.

Raven Makes the Aleutians, which was published in 2018, was adapted for children from the work of the late Nora and Dick Dauenhauer, who transcribed it from Tlingit storytellers Kaasgéiy Susie James and Shaadaax’ Robert Zuboff’s oral accounts. Raven stories are complex, humorous and sometimes filled with raucous adventures, said SHI President Rosita Worl, who is Tlingit.

“Raven the Trickster is found in oral traditions throughout North America and elsewhere in the world and teaches people how to exist in society,” Worl said.

In Raven Makes the Aleutians, after the flood, Raven falls from the sky far out to sea, and he can’t get back to the mainland. With the help of a friendly sea otter, Raven comes up with a plan to reach the shore. Ultimately, Raven’s ingenuity leads to the creation of Alaska’s Aleutian Chain.

The story was brought to life by illustrator Janine Gibbons, who is Haida Raven of the Double-Finned Killer Whale clan, Brown Bear House. Gibbons said she felt tremendous pride upon hearing the news. 



“There were many times during the process of illustrating Raven Makes the Aleutians that I felt my ancestors guiding me. This honor solidifies that they really were always there, that their spirits are alive and helping guide the way,” Gibbons said. 



“Our ancestors prayed for this day when they walked the earth and when there were so few of us left. Like Raven created islands out of thoughts we each individually have the capability to change the world with vision, willpower and friends. The Baby Raven Reads program is living proof that together we can change the course of history through telling our stories.”



Janine Gibbons grew up in Petersburg and graduated from the Art Institute of Seattle as well as Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. In trying to find herself, she studied everything from education to philosophy to biology to religion but finally settled upon what she has been doing for her entire life, which is art. She finds artistic inspiration in the colors and patterns of nature and in the meticulous work of her Haida ancestors.

Raven Makes the Aleutians was also chosen for an annual “best-of-the-year” list for 2018 compiled by the nationally known literacy group The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), along with Raven and the Tide Lady, illustrated by Tlingit artist Michaela Goade, and Raven Loses His Nose, illustrated by Tsimshian artist David Lang. 



Honor recognizes Baby Raven Reads as model for literacy programs

September 1, 2017

The Library of Congress has selected Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Baby Raven Reads literacy program for its 2017 Best Practice Honoree award, making it one of only 15 programs in the world to receive the honor this year.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards honor organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad and encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. The program was founded by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein in 2013.


DGO Magazine

DGO Magazine. Jewelry designer Janine Gibbons: ‘Everything inspires me’ Online and Print Edition. December 2015.


Sunset Magazine

Sunset Magazine. Savor the Coast. Online and Print Edition. August 2015.


Discovery Channel, Alaska the Last Frontier

Discovery Channel. January 2015

I don't have a regular television so when my sales rep in LA told me he loves to watch all the Alaska reality shows I told him I hadn't seen any of them.  With that idea in my mind, when I was headed back to Durango from LA with a stop in Scottsdale to visit my brother, I turned on his TV and low and behold and entire television segment with one of the gals on the Discovery Channel from Alaska the Last Frontier halibut fishing with a pair of my earrings on!  My home state of Alaska!

Shannen Keane, Diva Boutique Bakery

RTÉ Ireland's National Television. October 2014.


Shannen Keane, representing her bakery: Diva Boutique Bakery, wears a Janine Gibbons Designs necklace on Ireland's National Television while she shows how to bake a pound cake.

UPS driver delivers in the wilds of Alaska

Tom Fowler's route is in Ketchikan, Alaska, where he's achieved 25 years of safe driving. October 2014.


This UPS clip highlights Ketchikan and honoring Tom Fowler for delivering UPS in Ketchikan for 25 years! It shows the Soho Coho gallery which has carried my jewelry for 12 years now! There is a clip of Nicole Gizinski, Tom's fiance, wearing a pair of Janine Gibbons Designs earrings and Amy Farstad from the Soho Coho wearing one of my necklaces. Tom and Nicole bought one of my Ed Todd paintings from my show at the Soho Coho this past May. My heart is beaming with Ketchikan pride!

Over 50 Feeling 40

Celebrations: Summer Denim Styles and Fashion Flash!!, July 2014


"For starters, my husband just returned from a week in Alaska and brought me two beautiful necklaces!!...."

Peterburg Pilot

Janine Gibbons Brings New Art, May 2014


"Acclaimed artist Janine Gibbons, formerly of Petersburg, talks with friend Amy Perov about her bold necklace, part of the Janine Gibbons Designs collection. Gibbons brought her specialty enamel earrings, necklaces and rings to Wild Celery last week for a trunk show. Her work is now carried in shops all over Alaska and the Pacific Northwest...."

Petersburg Pilot

Local Art Featured in First Friday Art Walk, July 2013


"The featured artist at Wild Celery was Janine Gibbons; with her unique hand-crafted jewelry and a painting series of some familiar scenes.


"I wanted to tell a story ... just with the everyday things that you see," the 35-year-old artist said.


Gibbons, who grew up in Petersburg, chose familiar buildings, boats and scenes as inspiration for her paintings. Gibbons uses a process using black house paint as a base, and then builds up layers of color for her urban and natural landscapes. She paints from photographs and even introduces elements such as plaster. She also makes the frames by hand...."

Durango Herald

Fort Lewis College art students ready to go pro, November 2012


"Works by Janine Gibbons and Jackie Beavers occupy a wall of the Fort Lewis College graduating art majors’ exhibit, “Balancing the Continuum"..."

Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO

Art competition gives students experience in public art, November 2012


"...“Through the Waves,” her public art installment that is the 2012 winner of the Annual Art in the Library Student Competition. The exhibit will be on display in Reed Library until the end of the school year. See photos of "Through the Waves" here."

Petersburg Pilot

An Artists Homecoming, August 2012


"The Wild Celery art gallery hosted well known local artist Janine Gibbons for an artist’s reception on Friday evening. Gibbons now resides in Durango, Colorado with her husband and two children. This year she completed a large wood carving based..."

Ketchikan Daily News

Janine Gibbons Show:  India Color, December 2009



© 2020 by Janine Gibbons Designs.

P.O.Box 587   Petersburg, Alaska 99833

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