It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts
These two picturebooks demonstrate the beauty of the Arctic and the formidable yet playful spirit of two Inuit girls. While the narratives show different themes, they both celebrate our interconnectedness with each other and the world.
Written and Illustrated by: Karin Littlewood
Published by: Gullane, 2010 Book Awards: 2012 Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award — Picture Book (Nominee), 2013 Virginia Readers Choice Award — Primary (Nominee), ISBN: 186233823X (ISBN13: 9781862338234)
Signed Book given to me as a gift. Book photos taken by me. Junior Library Guild Selection.
This is a quiet and simple story of a young girl who lives in the Arctic, fishing for food under the freezing ice. However, instead of catching food, she found beauty instead. It first came in the form of a colourful little wooden bird:
Later on, she found even more treasures that provide nourishment to the soul, leading so many friends to come visit, attracted by the radiance of her igloo.
Reminiscent of Leo Lionni’s Frederick, the poet field mouse who gathered words and sunshine, Immi is a young girl who finds magic in feathers, and the scent of the sun in a lone leaf. The ending is beautiful – showing Immi’s gratitude as she offered her white bear necklace into the waters – where it ends up, I shall leave for you to discover.
Not My Girl
Written by: Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton Illustrated by: Gabrielle Grimard
Published by: Annick Press, 2014 Book Awards: 2015 USBBY Outstanding International Book Honor List, 2015 Information Book Award finalist (Children), Storytelling World Award, ISBN: 1554516250 (ISBN13: 9781554516254)
Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
This book is a sequel to When I Was Eight, a picturebook published in 2013 by the same picturebook creators. Based on the real life experience of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, this is a deeply moving story of what homecoming is like for a lot of Inuit children educated in the “outsider’s” school ran by nuns.
I found the image above so poignant as Olemaun (used to being called by her Christian name, Margaret, in school) looks at her mother who did not seem to recognize her without her long braids, not to mention her tall and thin frame after being away for so long. To hear her mother utter the words: “Not my girl” must have been heartbreaking.
The story revolved around how Olemaun struggled to fit in her home of origin – it was the father’s warm welcome (see above) which made Olemaun feel that she was finally home – even the family dog does not recognize her scent any longer. She had to re-learn all the customs she learned from birth: from the family’s eating rituals to household chores. It was distressing to witness how Olemaun, who found it so hard to fit in her new school, now suffered from the same difficulty in her own home where she was supposed to feel safe and accepted. However, things are not always as easy as they seem – a sentiment that is commonly felt by a lot of third-culture kids – or worse, kids who are taken from their homes for re-education purposes.
While the theme was heavy-going, I was particularly enamoured by the gorgeous depiction of the Northern lights and how Olemaun was able to find some comfort in it.
For teachers who wish to make use of both these picturebooks in the classroom, I invite you to look at this free downloadable PDF file on First Nations/Inuit Resources to see more titles around this very important theme.
I am glad to share that I finished reading two books over the past week:
The Tree Is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering Of Poems & Stories from Mexico with paintings by Mexican artists selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.
I was finally able to finish reading this novel: Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
I am halfway through Truthwitch, and I hope to review it soon.