Inuits and Igloo Picture Book Companions

Updated: Feb 5


The Pencil by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula

Based on author Susan Avingaq's childhood memories of growing up in an igloo, this charming story introduces young readers to the idea of using even the most common resources with reverence and respect. Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has but only one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things. One afternoon, Anaana leaves the iglu to help a neighbour, and Susan, Rebecca, and their brother Peter are left with their father. They play all their regular games but are soon out of things to do-until Ataata brings out the pencil!


The Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk

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.


In my Anaana's Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok

Sweet and soothing, this book offers a unique perspective that will charm readers of all ages. Nadia Sammurtok lovingly invites the reader into the amautik―the pouch in the back of a mother’s parka used to carry a child―to experience everything through the eyes of the baby nestled inside, from the cloudlike softness of the pouch to the glistening sound of Anaana’s laughter.


Lost and Found by JiWon Beck

In the snowy Alaskan landscape, a young indigenous girl crosses paths with a weak and hungry polar bear. But rather than retreating in fear, she chooses to approach the bear with tenderness by giving him all that she has to offer: a blanket and fish from her morning excursion. And although the girl's blanket is too small the gesture is just right. After feeling nourished and refreshed, the two new friends head out to frolic in the snow. When a snowstorm hits, the bear has a chance to return the girls kindness and safely shepherds her home. Before each reunites with their parent they share one last embrace creating a lifelong memory of their unique bond born of mutual respect and open hearts.


I is for Inuksuk: An Arctic Celebration by Mary Wallace

Presented in the form of an acrostic, I is for Inuksuk highlights the traditional way of life of Inuit people. Each letter of the word "Inuksuk" is represented by another Inuktitut word — I is for Inuksuk, N is for Nanuq, U is for Umiak, and so forth. Beautiful full-spread illustrations begin each section, and opposite the first page, the words are written in Inuktitut symbols. Readers then learn more about each Inuktitut word and how it represents the people and natural environment from which it comes. Throughout the book, small vignettes showcase Wallace’s love and knowledge of the Arctic landscape, its people, and its culture.


Building an Igloo by Ulli Steltzer

In this informative picture book full of crisp black-and-white photographs Ulli Steltzer documents the beauty and precision of an igloo's construction - from stacking blocks of snow to cutting a door.


Spotlight on Native Americans: Inuit by Jayson Chesterfield

When we think of the Inuit people, it is often of the cold and snow they endure, but their story is much more than just that of adaption and survival in a harsh climate. The long-spanning history of the first Arctic dwellers is told with beautiful photographs and illustrations in this account of the traditions of hunters, artists, and families, and their roles in modern-day Inuit life.


Only In My Hometown by Arnakuluk Vuriisan

The northern lights shine, women gather to eat raw caribou meat and everyone could be family in this ode to small-town life in Nunavut, which is written in English and Inuktitut.

Every line about the hometown in this book will have readers thinking about what makes their own hometowns unique. With strong social studies curriculum connections ideal for middle childhood, this book introduces young readers to life in the Canadian North, as well as the Inuit language and culture.


The Owl and the Lemming by Roselynn Akulukjuk

Written by Roselynn Akulukjuk who was born in Pangnirtunq, Nunavut, in the Canadia Arctic this playful book features a standoff between an owl and a lemming. As an Owl swoops down and blocks the entrance to a lemming den, he is sure that he has a tasty meal in the little animal he has cornered. But this lemming is not about to be eaten! This smart little rodent will need to appeal to the boastful owl's sense of pride to get away.


The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

A take on the familiar Goldilocks and the Three Bears, here Brett shares the tale as if it was set in the Arctic with an Inuit girl lead and igloo home to enter. In place of Goldilocks readers are guided through this story with Aloo-ki. As Aloo-ki glances up from fishing and sees her sled dogs floating off on an ice floe she races after them and comes upon an igloo. Being a curious girl, she goes inside only to find no one home. That's because the polar bear family who lives there is out walking while their breakfast cools off. Aloo-ki eats some soup, tries on their boots, and finally crawls into the smallest bed for a nap. Meanwhile, Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear see her dogs adrift, swim out to rescue them and return home to find Aloo-ki fast asleep in Baby Bear's bed.Jan traveled to the far North to meet the Inuit people and see the amazing land where they live.


Cozy by Jan Brett

Cozy shares a playful story full of animals Inuits know and depend upon. Cozy is the softest musk ox with the warmest fur. When a storm hits while he's separated from his family, he starts to feel lonely--but not for long. As the snow piles up, animals start to notice just how warm and cozy Cozy really is!


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