The YKSD Biography Series (21) books began in 1977 by Bob Maguire. Representatives of eleven (now nine) villages met to chose two people from each village to write about. The authors, Curt Madison and Yvonne Yarber interviewed elders, gained their trust, and wrote in the style of the speaker. The books are designed for upper level elementary students living in rural Alaska, although they may well captivate readers of any age. The series is meant to fill a void in local, relevant, and cultural knowledge created by school materials that come from Outside.
The series has been written in the language style of the story teller, as dictated from the hours of tape recordings. This oral storytelling style was chosen to reflect the spoken voice with all of the nuances and rhythms of the speaker. English is the second language for most of the elders featured in these biographies. Eliza Jones transcribed the Denaakk’e (Koyukon Athabascan) phrases, place names, and personal names.
YKSD is seeking additional funding to publish more biographies of elders. Several biographies were unpublished when the initial grant ended.