28 Jul 2017

Arctic Publisher Shares Northern Voices, Traditional Knowledge

By Gillian O'Reilly

Looking for engaging, appealing and informative science-themed and technology-themed books that incorporate traditional knowledge? Look no further than Inhabit Media.

Inhabit Media, an Inuit-owned publishing house based in Iqaluit and Toronto, aims to “promote and preserve the stories, knowledge and talent of northern Canada.” The company publishes a wide range of books for adults and kids, plus two magazines: Kaakuluk: Nunavut’s Discovery Magazine for Kids and Pivut: The Magazine for Nunavut Youth.

With an author list that includes established and emerging Northern writers and elders, as well as knowledgeable Southerners, Inhabit offers readers a rich variety -- from board books on Inuit tools and clothes to informational picture books to YA novels, historical and contemporary. Publishing in English, French, Inuktitut and sometimes Inuinnaqtun, Inhabit works to ensure that its books are accessible to both Northern and Southern readers.

A recent success for the company has been the Animals Illustrated series for readers aged 4 to 6. Each book is a lively mix of animals facts and first-hand accounts from authors who live in the Arctic, accompanied by meticulous and appealing illustrations. There are now four books in the series, covering polar bears, narwhals, muskox and walruses. A fifth book, on bowhead whales, is coming this fall.

One of my personal favourites in Inhabit’s list is A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds (2014), written by Mia Pelletier and illustrated by Danny Christopher (for ages 4 to 6). Informative, accurate and with gorgeous illustrations, the book looks at 12 birds that make the Arctic their permanent or seasonal home.

Another favourite is A Walk on the Tundra (2011) written by Anna Ziegler and Rebecca Hainnu and illustrated by Qin Leng (for ages 6 to 8). This is a picture book story that features a warm intergenerational relationship while incorporating a great deal of traditional knowledge.

Innuujaq reluctantly accompanies her grandmother on a walk to pick Arctic plants. Through it, she learns a few things about her grandmother and much about tasty, nourishing and medicinal plants. Included at the end are scientific descriptions of the plants, photographs and a glossary of Inuktitut words and phrases.

More recently, Ziegler, Hainnu and Leng collaborated on A Walk on the Shoreline (2015).

Discover your own favourites among Inhabit’s books at www.inhabitmedia.com!

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