Nunavut is our world’s northernmost permanently inhabited place and Canada’s largest territory. And within this expanse of tundra and mountains live the Inuit people.
Inuit-focused publishers such as Inhabit Media, make it possible for both Inuit and non-Inuit youth to deepen their knowledge about Inuit culture, oral traditions, folktales, arts, and family connections. Inhabit Media’s books offer a wide variety of entry points, from early readers and board books to teen and adult nonfiction tales focused on Inuit history. We invite you to take a peek at some of Inhabit Media’s beautiful books that illuminate the beauty of Nunavut, and open minds and hearts to the rich, ancient, and vibrant Inuit culture.
Inhabit Media is the only publisher in the world that is Inuit-forward, with authors and artists, as well as publishing staff, having their roots among the people. Many of their titles are published in both English and Inuktitut editions.
For the Very Youngest Readers
Board books are a beautiful way to start introducing young children to the world outside their immediate bubble of family, friends, and place. In the number-focused board book Counting Arctic Animals, written and illustrated by Coco Appunguaq Lynge, brother and sister Kuluk and Asa act as guides in counting a variety of Arctic animals. Look and read carefully and you’ll see some hidden Inuktitut words and traditional Inuit objects.
Picture Books about Family
Stories about loving family and friends help young readers learn about all the feelings we share, even if we are from different places, eat different foods, and speak different languages. My Ittu, by Laura Deal and illustrated by Thamires Paredes, joins Maniq as she describes all the reasons why she loves her ittu—her grandfather. Maniq’s sometimes exaggerated tales of her larger-than-life ittu accompany a wealth of everyday details describing Inuit family and community life. And for curious minds wanting to know more, the backmatter includes a glossary of Inuktitut words from the story!
There are innumerable ways to share traditional stories, myths, and folktales with young readers, and graphic novels have a unique way of bringing these long-told and treasured tales to life. In this third book of a series by Roselynn Akulukjuk and Danny Christopher, with art by Astrid Arijanto, Putuguq and Kublu and the Attack of the Amautalik!, brother and sister Putuguq and Kublu visit their grandparents for lunch and are told the traditional Inuit tale of the amautalik, a child-stealing ogress. After lunch the siblings act out the story, inspiring Putuguq to prove how truly fearless he can be. All of the mischief, fear, and excitement of this traditional Inuit myth are brought to new and vivid life for young, graphic novel-loving readers.
Most cultures share cautionary or instructive folktales and myths that contain dramatic and/or scary elements that are cinematic in their intensity. The same is true–literally– for the instructive Inuk-inspired tale of The Shaman’s Apprentice, written by film director Zacharias Kunuk and illustrated by Megan Kyak-Monteith. This dramatic tale of overcoming one’s fear and the value of listening to elders was inspired by the author’s earlier film of the same name. Young readers will be swept into the life of Supijaq, a young shaman learning her life’s calling at the side of her shaman grandmother. When both Supijaq and her grandmother are called upon to heal a sick man, Supijaq learns the importance of overcoming fear while also learning valuable lessons steeped in her people’s history and deep beliefs.
For Tweens and Teens
Older readers who loved the early graphic novel Putuguq and Kublu and the Attack of the Amautalkik! when they were younger will be eager to explore this darker and more realistic picture book variation on the folktale of the child-stealing ogress in The Amajurjuk. In this retelling by Inuit Elder Levi Illuitok, with illustrations by Ben Shannon, the dreaded amajurjuk happens upon an iglu where a blind mother is comforting her young child. Unable to see the true nature of her visitor, the mother gives the child to the amajurjuk to hold, only to have the child stolen away. When the father returns from hunting to find his child gone, he sets off to brave treacherous rocks, cliffs, and weather, using his magic and his determined love to try to find and save his child.
Books for Older Teens and Adult Readers
For older teens and adults hungry to learn the history of the Arctic and of the European explorers who traveled to the Arctic in search of adventure and riches, look no further than Kenn Harper’s In Those Days. This five-book series holds a wealth of historical facts and little-known details, all told through detailed writings depicting interactions between European explorers and the Inuit people. The wide variety of tales and storytelling voices brings each historical detail and adventure to life, illuminating the complex, uneasy—and many times tragic–intersection of European explorers and the indigenous Inuit people.
To learn more about these amazing Inhabit Media books and cultural resources, visit their website. Happy reading! Happy exploring!