Books of the Iditarod
A race that honors courage and dedication
March 6, 1998
Web posted at: 5:36 p.m. EST (2236 GMT)
(CNN) -- To some, it's a sporting event; to others the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race commemorates a tale of courage and perseverance.
The Iditarod is a grueling 1,100 mile race from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nome. Adults and children alike are attracted to the tale of heroism the race recalls.
In 1925 a diphtheria epidemic threatened the people of Nome. Normally, airplanes would bring medicines to the remote town, but that winter severe weather grounded the pilots.
No medicine was coming in until intrepid dog mushers and their hard-driving dogs carried the serum across 675 miles of northern Alaska wilderness in less than 128 hours. With the medicine the townspeople were saved.
Race begins Saturday in Anchorage
The 26th annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins Saturday in downtown Anchorage, the starting point since 1983.
It's impossible to predict the exact day or time that the first musher will cross the finish line in Nome since the weather plays so critical a role in the course. Race organizers expect the winner to cross in between 9 and 12 days. In 1995 Doug Swingley completed the course in 9 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes and 19 seconds to win the Iditarod.
There are many books that tell the tale of the Iditarod; some give details of the race route while others focus on the mushers. To many school children, the tale of Balto, a sled dog who led his team through the snow and ice in 1925 to deliver the medicine. In Nome there's even a statue of a sled dog commemorating Balto and all the hardworking sled dogs.
Some Iditarod books
Iditarod: The Great Race to Nome
By Bill Sherwonit
Library Journal said: "This profusely illustrated (80 color, 20 black-and-white photos) volume commemorates this grueling test of dogs and drivers. The short text gives a brief history of the Iditarod Trail ... and then describes the race route with highlights of the hazards facing participants and some of the exciting race finishes."
Race across Alaska: First Woman to Win the Iditarod Tells Her Story
By Libby Riddles and Tim Jones
Wisconsin native Riddles moved to Alaska in 1972, when she was 16. After working with sled dog teams she entered the 1985 Iditarod and after 19 days -- and a grueling blizzard -- she was become the first woman to win the race.
The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto
By Natalie Standiford, Illustrated by Donald Cook
School Library Journal called this the "compelling account, told in easy-to-read format, of Balto, a sled dog who led his team through snow and ice over 53 miles of northern Alaska wilderness to deliver some medicine."
"A proud and heroic story that young readers are sure to enjoy."