Eye on the Iditarod

By Aisling Lara Shepherd with Hope Irvin Marston
Illustrated by Bob Renaud

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Aisling (pronounced Ashley) is a young girl with a big dream. After watching the Iditarod dog-sled race on television when she was three years old, Aisling became fascinated with the sport. by her mother and grandparents, Aisling acquired her first team of dogs and began entering mushing competitions in the northeastern United States and Canada. By the time she was eleven years old, Aisling was a junior champion in the sport and had even gotten her mother and grandfather into mushing! Through it all, she continues to pursue her big dream: to race in the famous Iditarod when she is old enough.

Eye on the Iditarod tells Aisling’s story in her own words. Aisling details her early struggles (she has had numerous surgeries to correct a problem with her eyes), her loving family, and her love for dogs. She explains the sport of mushing: its history, the equipment needed, the excitement and danger of racing, and how the dogs are trained and exercised. Most of all, Aisling talks about her love for dogs. Readers will share her triumphs and grieve with her when her favorite dog dies of cancer. Through it all, Aisling is supported by her family and learns to conquer her fears and overcome every problem life throws in her path.

Eye on the Iditarod is a great choice for a second-grade library. The subject of the book is not often seen for a second-grade level, yet it is something that young readers will find very interesting, especially its focus on pets and sports. Second-grade readers will also enjoy getting to know Aisling and find her to be a great role model. This book would also work well as a classroom read aloud. Additions such as a glossary, diagrams, and photos will help with reading comprehension and reading skills. The author also includes reading, writing, math, science, and art prompts that could be used to create reading worksheets, along with links to informative websites and a “Further Reading” list that teachers can use to create exciting classroom projects. It’s nice to see a book that introduces an unusual subject to second-grade readers and provides so many different ways to promote reading skills, as well as math, science, and history lessons.
Eye on the Iditarod

  • Authors: Aisling Lara Shepherd with Hope Irvin Marston
  • Illustrated: Bob Renaud
  • Publisher: Windward Books, 2011
  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-89317-071-4
  • Genre: Biography

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