: : Inside: Children’s books featuring Inuit folktales for kids of all ages! : :
I love a good creation story, fable, folktale, and myth, and Inuit folktales are no exception! Keep reading for 10 amazing Inuit folktales!
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Descriptions come from Amazon; some are edited for length
How Raven Got His Crooked Nose: An Alaskan Dena’ina Fable by Barbara J. Atwater and Ethan J. Atwater
“Chulyen the trickster raven loses his nose one day, but he vows to get it back. Luckily he has some special powers to help him! “How Raven Got His Crooked Nose is a modern retelling of a traditional Native American fable. Part picture book and part graphic novel, this beautifully illustrated story teaches an important lesson to children through Dena’ina mythology and includes a glossary of Dena’ina words to learn.
Fish-Boy: An Inuit Folk Tale by Mike Blanc
“The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures. The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world. In Fish-Boy: An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. It’s an origin story involving a little magic and a very odd boy with a large heart for friendship. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers. But he has a way and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.”
Magic Words: From the Ancient Oral Tradition of the Inuit by Mike Blanc
“Magic Words describes a world where humans and animals share bodies and languages, where the world of the imagination mixes easily with the physical. It began as a story that told how the Inuit people came to be and became a legend passed from generation to generation. In translation it grew from myth to poem. The text comes from expedition notes recorded by Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen in 1921.”
Totem Tale: A Tall Story from Alaska by Deb Vanasse
“On a full-moon night in Alaska, a traditional native totem pole magically comes to life. The Grizzly, Beaver, Frog, and Raven all stretch and scratch and voice their relief at being free at last. But then the first dawn light appears on the horizon, and the totems have to reassemble themselves in the proper order before morning. Who should be on top of whom? Can wise Raven reason with these contentious creatures? Deb Vanasse’s enchanting text and Erik Brooks’s lively illustrations make this a memorable modern folktale.”
The Sleeping Lady by Ann Dixon
“To many people who gaze across Cook Inlet from Anchorage, Alaska, Mount Susitna looks like a slumbering woman. The Sleeping Lady is a modern-day folk legend that accounts for both Alaska’s first snowfall and for the origin of this beautiful mountain. It is also a classic tale about a time of peace and the consequences of war. Cloaked in snow in winter and wildflowers in summer, Mount Susitna embodies the hope for peace so relevant at any age. As much a mythical explanation for natural phenomena as it is a tale about a time when people lived in harmony with nature and each other.”
A Promise Is a Promise by Michael Kusugak
“When Allashua disobeys her parents and goes fishing on the sea ice, she has to use her wits to escape the Qallupilluit: the troll-like creatures her parents have always warned her about that live beneath the frozen surface of the sea. But the only way to break out of their grasp is through an exchange: Allashua can go free if she brings her brothers and sisters back to the sea ice instead. Allashua doesn’t want to give them up, but what can she do? After all, a promise is a promise. This 30th anniversary edition brings all of the tension of the traditional Inuit story to a new generation of readers. Added features include a new foreword by Michael Kusugak on his role as a storyteller and the importance of storytelling in Inuit culture.”
The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale by Lydia Dabcovich
“A lonely old woman adopts, cares for, and raises a polar bear as if he were her own son, until jealous villagers threaten the bear’s life, forcing him to leave his home and his ‘mother,’ in a retelling of a traditional Inuit folktale.”
The Walrus and the Caribou by Maika Harper
“When the earth was new, words had the power to breathe life into the world. But when creating animals from breath, sometimes one does not get everything right on the first try! Based on a traditional Inuit story passed forward orally for generations in the South Baffin region of Nunavut, this book shares with young readers the origin of the caribou and the walrus. And tells of how very different these animals looked when they were first conceived.”
The Origin of Day and Night by Paula Ikuutaq Rumbolt
“In this Inuit tale, the actions of a hare and a fox change the Arctic forever by creating day and night. In very early times, there was no night or day and words spoken by chance could become real. When a hare and a fox meet and express their longing for light and darkness, their words are too powerful to be denied. Passed orally from storyteller to storyteller for hundreds of years, this beautifully illustrated story weaves together elements of an origin story and a traditional animal tale, giving young readers a window into Inuit mythology.”
Chia and the Fox Man: An Alaskan Dena’ina Fable by Barbara J. Atwater
“Life is hard for Chia. His village doesn’t have enough food and every day there are many chores to do. Chia always goes to bed hungry and tired, until one day in the middle of the night he wakes to a strange noise. He decides to investigate and meets the legendary Fox Man. Will the Fox Man be able to help Chia and his village? A beautifully illustrated Alaska Native story of a young boy and his encounter with the fabled Fox Man, and how doing the right thing isn’t always easy but important in the end.”
Looking to learn more about the Inuit or Arctic region? Then check out the posts below! Happy reading!
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