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list price: $9.99
also available: Paperback Hardcover
category: Children's Nonfiction
published: Nov 2015
publisher: Owlkids Books Inc.

An Inuksuk Means Welcome

by Mary Wallace

tagged: customs, traditions, anthropology, alphabet, polar regions

An inuksuk is a stone landmark that different peoples of the Arctic region build to leave a symbolic message. Inuksuit (the plural of inuksuk) can point the way, express joy, or simply say: welcome. A central image in Inuit culture, the inuksuk frames this picture book as an acrostic: readers will learn seven words from the Inuktitut language whose first letters together spell INUKSUK. Each word is presented in English and in Inuktitut characters, with phonetic pronunciation guides provided.
The words and their definitions give a sense of the traditions and customs of Inuit life in the Arctic: nanuq is the powerful polar bear of the north; kamik is a warm seal- and caribou-skin boot; and siku is sea ice. Stunning paintings with deep color and rich texture evoke a powerful sense of place and show great respect for the Acrtic’s indigenous people.
Extra informational text features include an introductory note about the significance of inuksuit in Inuit culture and a nonfiction page that profiles seven different types of inuksuit.

About the Author

Mary Wallace

MARY WALLACE has spent almost 20 years teaching arts and art education to children and adults. She has written and illustrated over a dozen books for children and has received many awards and nominations, including a National Outdoor Book Award for The Inuksuk Book. She lives in St. Thomas, ON.
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
3 to 7
p to 2
  • , OLA Best Bet Honourbale Mention
Editorial Reviews

"Wallace's richly coloured paintings bring both the northern landscape and Inuit culture vividly to life, highlighting the interdependence of the people and the land, and the importance of close family ties."

— Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

"Rich with colour and movement."

— Canadian Review of Materials

"Beautiful presentation...invites you, almost entices you, to learn more."

— Librarian's Quest

"A solid compliment to social studies lessons about traditional Inuit customs and the languages of Canada."

— National Reading Campaign

"The presence of a close-knit Inuit family...brings a loving warmth to the Arctic landscape Wallace so affectionately portrays."

— Publisher's Weekly

"This book is a fun and aesthetically striking way to teach children about a new language and culture, and could be a useful tool for early primary school social studies classes."

— Green Teacher

"Adds interest and understanding to an important part of Canada's history and culture."

— Resource Links

"A strong addition for libraries looking to expand cultural collections with ease."

— School Library Journal

""An Inuksuk Means Welcome" is a multi-sensory tour through life in the Arctic for thousands of years, beautifully presented for children of all ages."

— The Midwest Book Review's Children's Bookwatch

Buy this book at:


Top  Grade
Librarian review

An Inukshuk Means Welcome

An acrostic introduction to life in the Arctic by Mary Wallace, a teacher and artist who has worked among Canada's northern communities and has a deep respect for the landscape and people.

Important features of this book include the acrostic nature of presenting information (e.g. I is for Inukshuk); pronunciation keys (e.g. ee-nuck-shuck); and Innuktitut language translations. An Inukshuk means “w”elcome is a strong example of dual language text, particularly suitable for English as Second Language learners. The visuals introduce readers to a way of the people, animals, and the environment of the Arctic. Librarians and teachers can use this book to teach a project in which students make their own inukshuks.

Also available: Make Your Own Inuksuk by Mary Wallace

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

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