________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 8. . . October 27, 2017


Only in My Hometown.

Angnakuluk Friesen. Illustrated by Ippiksaut Friesen. Translated by Jean Kusugak.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/House of Anansi Press, 2017.
28 pp., hardcover & pdf, $18.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55498-883-9 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55498-884-6 (pdf).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Kelsey Sukich.

***˝ /4



Stories, images, memories

of spirits, playing happily, fluidly, chanting.

The Northern Lights can be seen in many places,

but they dance for me

only in my hometown.

Where I come from

glimpses of hope are always appreciated.


Imagine feasting on raw meat, navigating blizzards, being entranced by the Northern Lights, and living within a community of family. These childhood memories of growing up in a small Inuit town in Nunavut are shared in Only in My Hometown by sisters, Angnakuluk Friesen and Ippiksaut Friesen, the author and illustrator, respectively.

internal art     Only in My Hometown is written in Inuktitut (using both syllabics and transliterated roman orthography) and English. For those unfamiliar with syllabics, this book provides a direct comparison of how the same language (ie. Inuktitut) can be written two different ways. Seeing this comparison can spark the interest of a reader into learning more about syllabics and perhaps learning how to write their name using syllabics!

      The start of the book is somber, with a young girl sitting on “the elephant” remembering what her mom said: “Don’t cry near there or the little men will come and take you to their secret hidden lair.” This wording leaves the reader wondering what “the elephant” is and scared of what would happen to those taken away. A simple Google search informs the reader that the “elephant” the author is referring to is the remains of milling equipment from the North Rankin Nickel Mine. The remainder and majority of the book recounts the joyous memories of growing up in Rankin Inlet, NU, with family. A strong and loving sense of community is felt throughout the narration and paintings.

     The exquisite paintings are full of colour and detail, and they beautifully depict the environment, time of day, and season of each setting. The clever use of vibrant colours and paint strokes, seemingly drawn in continuous movements to depict the Northern Lights dancing in a black sky, truly brings the sky to life for the reader. Ippiksaut Friesen captures the essence and beauty of growing up in a small town in the North

Highly Recommended.

Kelsey Sukich is a French-immersion teacher in the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg, MB. She enjoys escaping the city and being mesmerized by the dancing Northern Lights.

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

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