Tales from the Arctic: Alaska Native Heritage

Journey up to the Arctic region! Whether you are reading about the magic of the northern lights or the traditional stories of the Inuit people, you are sure to find topics that engage readers of all ages. A number of the books are written by beloved Inuit storyteller Michael Kusugak, who grew up in Nunavut, Canada and has found exciting ways to bring his own memories and grandmother's stories to life for children.

Arctic Memories

Age Level: 6-9

Normee Ekoomiak is an Inuk artist from Northern Quebec. Michael J. Mazza writes, "This book contains full-color reproductions of Ekoomiak's paintings and stitched fabric creations. Each piece of visual art is accompanied by an explanatory mini-essay by the artist. Ekoomiak's vivid art depicts the Inuit people, the natural environment, and the animal life of the Arctic." Bilingual Inuktitut/English.

Arctic Stories

Illustrated by: Vladyana Krykorka
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: Michael Kusugak weaves a tapestry of tales about ten-year-old Agatha and her accidental heroism in the high Arctic of 1958 based on his childhood memories. Whether she is saving her town from an eerie, black airship flies over Chesterfield Inlet or rescuing a show-off priest who has fallen through the ice, children will be cheering for Agatha throughout her adventures!

Fatty Legs: A True Story

Illustrated by: Liz Amini-Holmes
Age Level: 9-12

At the age of eight, Margaret Pokiak set her sights on learning to read — even though it meant leaving her Arctic village. Upon her arrival at school, Margaret encountered the Raven, a black-cloaked nun who immediately disliked the plucky girl and frequently humiliated her. In spite of the Raven's cruelty, however Margaret refused to be intimidated and gave the nun a lesson in the power of human dignity. Complemented by archival photos, this inspiring first-person account of a girl's determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Kamik Joins the Pack

Illustrated by: Qin Leng
Age Level: 3-6

Jake can't wait for his uncle to meet Kamik, and to see what an obedient puppy he is becoming. Jake's uncle is a great musher, who has won many dog sledding races, and if Kamik is good enough, Jake hopes today might be the day that Kamik finally gets to run with a dog team! Following Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story and Kamik's First Sled, Kamik Joins the Pack continues the story of Jake and his puppy Kamik as they learn from their elders everything they need to know to some day be part of a winning sled dog team.

Kamik's First Sled

Illustrated by: Qin Leng
Age Level: 6-9

Jake's puppy Kamik is growing quickly and they finally begin exploring the tundra together. But Jake and Kamik are still inexperienced, and when a blizzard starts blowing in across the tundra, Jake has to rely on his knowledge to get home. Inspired by the life memories of the author, an Inuit elder, this book lovingly presents basic dog—rearing practices that even the youngest dog lover can try.

Kamik: An Inuit Puppy Story

Illustrated by: Qin Leng
Age Level: 6-9

When Jake finally gets a puppy to call his own, all he can think about is the fast, strong sled dog that his puppy will become. But Kamik is far from an obedient sled dog. After a visit with his grandfather, Jake learns that Inuit have been raising puppies just like Kamik to be obedient, resourceful, helpful sled dogs for generations. Inspired by the real-life recollections of an elder from Arviat, Nunavut, this book lovingly recreates the traditional dog-rearing practices that prevailed when Inuit relied on dogs for transportation and survival.

My Arctic 1, 2, 3

Illustrated by: Vladyana Krykorka
Age Level: 3-6

From one polar bear walking along the edge of a huge ice floe to millions of berries ready for picking, My Arctic 1, 2, 3 takes young readers on a counting tour in the Far North. With the rich Arctic environment as a background, this classic not only provides small children with opportunities to practice their counting skills, it introduces them to the extraordinary animals that make the Far North their home.

Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails

Illustrated by: Vladyana Krykorka
Age Level: 6-9

When Kataujaq's mother dies, her grandmother tells her the legend of the northern lights: the souls of the dead are engaged in a lively game of soccer, just as they did when they were living. Watching the northern lights brings comfort to Kataujaq as she thinks of her mother playing soccer in the sky. A beautiful story honoring Inuit traditions and recommended for children struggling with loss.

On Mother's Lap

Illustrated by: Glo Coalson
Age Level: 3-6

Sitting on his mother's lap, a young Inuit boy cheerfully gathers his belongings until he, some toys, his puppy, and a blanket are all crowded together in the rocking chair. When his baby sister cries, the boy claims there is no room for her, but Mother proves him wrong, and the threesome settle comfortably in the chair. Soft illustrations depict a cozy scene and a loving family. — The Horn Book

Skraelings: Clashes in the Old Arctic (Arctic Moon Magick)

In this adventurous novel set in the ancient Arctic, a wandering Inuit hunter named Kannujaq happens upon a camp in grave peril. The inhabitants of the camp are Tuniit, a race of ancient Inuit ancestors known for their shyness and meekness. The tranquility of this Tuniit camp has been shaken by a group of murderous, pale, bearded strangers who have arrived on a huge boat shaped like a loon.

SkySisters

Illustrated by: Brian Deines
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Two Ojibwe sisters set off across the frozen north country to see the Sky Spirits' midnight dance. It isn't easy for the younger sister to stay silent, but gradually she begins to treasure the stillness and the wonderful experiences it brings. This powerful story, with its stunning illustrations, captures the chill of a northern night, the warmth of the family circle, and the radiance of a child's wonder.

Soccer Star (Lorimer Sports Stories)

Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Samantha Aqsarniq Keyes is used to a life on the move. Her military family has been transferred across Canada, and she has grown up with stories of her Inuit ancestors exploring the far north. For Sam, soccer has been the one constant in her life. But now that she's thirteen, her home base isn't the only thing that's changing. Sam longs to show up Carly, her school's reigning soccer star, but Sam's new interest in theatre is taking up a lot of time. Does she have the time to practice her sport and be the lead in the school play?

Sweetest Kulu

Illustrated by: Alexandria Neonakis
Age Level: 0-3

Product Description: This bedtime poem, written by internationally acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts bestowed upon a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic. Lyrically and lovingly written, this visually stunning book is infused with the Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.

The Giant Bear: An Inuit Folktale

Illustrated by: Eva Widermann
Age Level: 9-12

Product Description: One of the most terrifying creatures to be found in traditional Inuit stories is the nanurluk, a massive bear the size of an iceberg that lives under the sea ice. Its monstrous size and ice-covered fur make it an almost impenetrable foe. Jose Angutingunrik, a gifted storyteller and respected elder from Kugaaruk, Nunavut, brings to life a story of the great nanurluk that has been told in the Kugaaruk region for generations.

The Littlest Sled Dog

Illustrated by: Vladyana Krykorka
Age Level: 3-6

Igvillu is a small terrier who dreams of being a sled dog, and when she is adopted by an Inuit storyteller and taken to the North to live, she believes her dreams will come true…Dog lovers will enjoy this story of dreaming big and just may learn about life in Nunavut, as the story and illustrations contain details that can dispel misconceptions about life in the great Northern reaches of Canada. — School Library Journal

Very Last First Time

Illustrated by: John Wallace
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Eva lives in an Inuit village in northern Canada where people search along the bottom of the seabed beneath a thick shelf of ice for mussels to eat in the winter. Eva usually helps her mother, but for the first time, she's going to go by herself. On the ice, her candle goes out, and the tide threatens to return! When she is finally safe with her mother, Eva proclaims, "That was my very last first time walking alone on the bottom of the sea." ALA Notable Children's Book.

Whale Snow

Illustrated by: Annie Patterson
Age Level: 6-9

Amiqqaq is home with his grandmother when fat flakes begin to fall. She refers to the precipitation as "whale snow," which occurs when a whale has given itself to the people of their Alaskan village. Soon Amiqqaq's father comes in to announce the kill, and then takes the boy to see the great beast. Before long, Amiqqaq begins to understand the true spirit of the whale, as members of his community come together to celebrate and prepare its different parts for use. — Booklist