A former neighbor of Palin's wrote a book about her: Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska’s Political Establishment Upside Down. You can read the first chapter, about her early life, here (pdf). A snippet:

Sarah had two childhood traits that her family says played trajectory roles in her life. From the time she was in elementary school, she consumed newspapers with a passion. “She read the paper from the very top left hand corner to the bottom right corner to the very last page,” said Molly. “She didn’t want to miss a word. She didn’t just read itshe knew every word she had read and analyzed it.”

Sarah preferred nonfiction to the Nancy Drew books that her classmates were reading. In junior high school, Heather a year older in schooloften enlisted Sarah’s help with book reports. “She was such a bookworm. Whenever I was assigned to read a book, she’d already read it,” Heather said.

Sarah’s thirst for knowledge was nurtured in a household that emphasized the importance of education. There was never any question that all the Heath kids would go to college. With her love for newspapers and current events, Sarah majored in journalism and minored in political science. Her brother, like their father, became a teacher. Heather works for an advertising firm. Molly is a dental hygienist.

Sarah’s other trait is what her father calls an unbending, unapologetic streak of stubbornness.

(Hat tip: Paper Cuts)