________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 27. . . .March 24, 2017


Akilak’s Adventure.

Deborah Kigjugalik Webster. Illustrated by Charlene Chua.
Iqaluit, NU: Inhabit Media, 2016.
32 pp., pbk., $10.95.
ISBN 978-1-77227-123-2.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*** /4



Not so long ago, when Inuit lived a traditional, nomadic life on the barren lands of the Arctic, there lived a young girl named Akilak. Akilak’s mother had died when she was a baby, so her grandmother had adopted her. Akilak and her grandmother lived all alone on the land and rarely saw other people.


In this picture book set in the Arctic, Akilak and her grandmother prepare to go on a hunting trip. When her grandmother injures her ankle, the young girl must embark on a solo trek to her uncle’s camp to get food. Akilak is brave, but the task ahead is a bit daunting. Her grandmother’s parting words of wisdom spur her on: “Your destination is not running away; it will be reached eventually.” As Akilak walks across the tundra, her mind wanders from thoughts of playing with her cousin, to the number of steps she has to take to get to her destination before nightfall. Resting by a steam, the child meets Caribou who offers companionship on the journey. With a bit of imagination, a sense of adventure, and guidance from her grandmother’s spirit, Akilak’s finds that the time passes quickly on her long journey.

internal art  

    Deborah Kigjugalik Webster weaves Inuit culture into the narrative. When Akilak first sets out, she is preoccupied with wondering how much longer she has to travel. In an author’s afterword, Webster explains this frustrating feeling of “Are we there yet?” is in Inuktitut called “taulittuq”, meaning the “experience of moving without the sense of nearing one’s destination.”

internal art

      Akilak and her caribou guide discuss spirit animals, and the young girl wishes she could effortlessly swim like a fish or run as fast as a wolf or fly across the sky like a goose. Upon further reflection, she decides she is “grateful to be a person” and to have her grandmother’s love. Respect for elders is a central theme, and Akilak’s grandmother, in the form of the caribou, walks beside Akilak every step of the way.

      Charlene Chua’s softy hued, watercolour illustrations evoke a strong sense of place. Scenes showcase the ruggedness of the northern, rocky landscape and the beauty of blazing sunsets.

      Inhabit Media excels at publishing culturally authentic books, and Akilak’s Adventure is a worthy addition to school and public library collections.


Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - March 24, 2017
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive