Though it makes up over FORTY PERCENT of Canada’s landmass, for the majority of Canadians, who live in the country’s more temperature southern regions, the Arctic might as well be on the moon. It is a massive region filled with incredible natural vistas and teeming with flora and fauna, and is home to centuries’ old cultures and communities, yet because much of the Canadian Arctic is remote and at times only seasonably accessible, it is a region that many Canadians will never experience in person.
How lucky we all are, then, to have beautiful, brilliant picture books that portray Inuit culture, heritage and life in sensitive, positive ways, serving both as mirrors for Inuit children, and windows for the rest of Canada.
A Walk on the Tundra is a beautiful celebration of both the beauty of the Arctic landscape, and a celebration of Inuit culture and traditions. A passionate advocate for Inuktitut language education and a respected educator and administrator, author Rebecca Hainnu takes children on a journey across the Arctic Tundra, instilling in young readers an appreciation for this stark yet vibrant landscape.
A little girl named Inuujaq travels with her grandmother through the tundra. Along the way, her grandmother introduces her to some of the hardy plants that live in the region, and which have been used by the local peoples as food and medicine for generations.
In addition to being a lovely inter-generational story about a child and a grandparent, A Walk on the Tundra is also highly informative and thoroughly researched, and includes photographs and a field guide to plants native to the area for further information.
And more illustrations from Qin Leng! Each of Leng’s images is sweet and full of life and colour. Leng is one of my favourite illustrators, and is Canadian, to boot! I particularly appreciate the very modern setting of this Inuit story – the characters are deeply connected to their culture and tradition, but are perfectly at home in their modern communities.
A Walk on the Tundra is one of those wonderful picture books that manages to be both educational and entertaining, and is definitely worth picking up, wherever your classroom or library happens to be!