Anthropology Outreach Office little basket icon Smithsonian Institution



Nanogak, Agnes (Inuit); Nanogak, Agnes, illus. More Tales from the Igloo. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: Hurtig Publishers Ltd.; 1986. 116 pages. (upper elementary/secondary) *.

These stories are grouped into three sections: tales of birds and beasts, in which animals act like humans; tales of adventure, describing actions of epic heroes; and tales of sorrow and revenge, which illustrate the consequences of bad behavior and violent actions that go unpunished. The foreword gives information on Inuit life and the nature of Inuit stories and storytelling.


Baylor, Byrd; Ingram, Jerry (Choctaw), illus. They Put on Masks. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons; 1974. 47 pages. (lower elementary).

This book beautifully describes the forms and functions of masks among the Eskimo, Northwest Coast tribes, Iroquois, Navajo, Apache, Hopi, Zuni, and Yaqui. The book evokes the powerful feelings associated with masks and provides much descriptive information. It is important to note that many American Indians find depicting masks and using them for classroom activities offensive.

Boiteau, Denise; Stansfield, David. Early Peoples: A History of Canada. Markham, Ontario, Canada: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Ltd.; 1988. 64 pages. (upper elementary) *.

Based on the first three programs of the Canadian television series, "Origins," which explores the history of the peoples of Canada up to 1885, the book is divided into three chapters: "A New World," "The First Nations," and "Lost Civilizations." Each chapter includes several units that begin with questions to consider and end with creative research activities and discussion questions. This book clearly explains the differences between evolution and creation, and asserts that these theories do not oppose one another.

Brown, Vinson. Native Americans of the Pacific Coast. Published as Peoples of the Sea by MacMillan (1977 ed.). Happy Camp, CA: Naturegraph Publishers; 1985. 272 pages. (secondary)

The book describes lifeways (social organization, economy, religion) of selected tribes from the four culture areas along the Pacific Coast (Arctic, Subarctic, Northwest Coast, and California) during the period 1500--1700. Nine of the eighteen descriptions are followed by fictional stories intended to illustrate the spirit and essence of the people. The author runs a risk inherent in fictionalizing past societies---that of attributing thoughts and actions to the characters that may be alien or unlikely for people in that society. In one story, a young Kwakuitl girl questions the violence of one of her tribe's rituals. This pairing of fictional opinion with fact might lead the reader to feel that all aspects of the story are culturally accurate. Unfortunately, this combination of lists of facts with fictional stories fails to coalesce into a comprehensible introduction to the many cultures described. Lengthy appendices list Pacific Coast languages, material culture, and religious and social elements of each group. Includes a useful bibliography.

Jones, Jayne Clark. The American Indian in America. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Company; 1973; Vol. I. 104 pages. (The In America Series). (secondary).

This is a comprehensive overview of the history and lifeways of the American Indian from pre-Contact to the late 1800s. A detailed introduction explains the term "prehistory" and what is known of paleo-Indians from research and archaeological findings on the North American continent. Subsequent sections describe subsistence areas, including the Arctic, the Northwest Coast, and the Great Plains. The book's final section describes conflicts between Indians and white settlers during the colonial period. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, drawings, and maps. Includes index and additional information on tribes and language families.

Lund, Annabel; Kelley, Mark, photog. Heartbeat: World Eskimo Indian Olympics. Juneau, AK: Fairweather Press; 1986. 120 pages. (secondary) *

The World Eskimo Indian Olympics (WEIO) are competitions and demonstrations of Alaska Native music, dances, and games that have been held annually for over thirty years. In this unique festival, six Alaska Native groups are represented as they demonstrate and compete in traditional activities such as seal skinning, the blanket toss, the high kick, kayak races, and dances. This book documents the 1985 games---focuses on many individuals involved in organizing and participating in the games---and includes descriptions of each of the sporting events and dances. Much information on contemporary Alaska Indians and Eskimos is included in descriptions of people and places involved. The many black-and-white photographs of participants evoke the atmosphere of the games.

Morgan, Lael ed.; Morgan, Lael, photog. Alaska's Native People. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Geographic Society; 1979. 302 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

This lavishly illustrated book from the Alaska Geographic Society "attempts to explain, in a few words, a few maps, and a lot of pictures, just who and where are the many vastly differing 'Native peoples' of Alaska." Organized into sections on the Inupiat; the Yup'ik; the Aleut; the Koniag, Chugach, and Eyak; the Athabascan; the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian, the book also includes a section on urban Natives. The book gives useful background information and encourages the reader to seek more information on contemporary Alaskan Natives. Beautifully illustrated with many full-page color photographs of the Alaskan land and people, giving a good sense of contemporary life in the Arctic. Includes Important Dates in Native History, a separate wall map on "Alaska's Native Peoples, and an extensive bibliography.

Shemie, Bonnie; Shemie, Bonnie, illus. Houses of Snow, Skin and Bone: Native Dwellings of the Far North. Plattsburgh, NY: Tundra Books; 1989. 24 pages. (elementary/secondary) *.

This is a well-researched description of arctic dwellings made of snow (igloos), whalebone, skin, and sod, with step-by-step diagrams of their construction. An introductory note on climate and ecology indicates the types of material available. The book explains the ingenuity of these shelters and their biodegradability, with a brief mention of the types of housing in use today and the problems of pollution. Includes a list of sources.

Watson, Jane Werner; Howell, Troy, illus. The First Americans: Tribes of North America. New York, NY: Pantheon Books; 1980. 42 pages. (I Am Reading Book). (lower elementary).

This brief overview describes the lifeways of the people who lived in the Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Arctic, Northwest Coast, and Southwest. In an effort to cover so many different culture areas, the author oversimplifies, and delineations between culture areas are often unclear. Descriptions of male activities predominate. Includes black-and-white illustrations.

Younkin, Paula. Indians of the Arctic and Subarctic. New York: Facts on File; 1991. 96 pages. (The First Americans). (upper elementary).

This book describes Native cultures from the Arctic and Subarctic regions. Illustrated with maps, drawings, and large colorful photographs, it covers such topics as history, ritual and religion, traditional stories, hunting and fishing, family life, travel, the role of women, music and poetry, and art. A section on modern life describes how old and new lifeways coexist, and how Arctic and Subarctic cultures continue to thrive. Includes an index.

Yue, Charlotte; Yue, David. The Igloo. Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin; 1988. 107 pages. (elementary/secondary).

The title of this volume is somewhat misleading since it provides information not only on igloos but also on the arctic environment, traditional Eskimo clothing, food, games, transportation, family, and community life. The final chapter, "Eskimo Today," notes the changes that have contributed to some erosion of traditional Native values and have introduced a lifestyle and products less suited to the rigors of the arctic environment. The information is well-researched and well-presented, with excellent diagrams showing the construction of houses and boats. Material culture is illustrated with black-and-white drawings.


Parsons, Elsie Clews (ed); La Farge, C. Grant, illus. North American Indian Life, Customs and Traditions of 23 Tribes. Reprint of B.W. Huebsch Inc. 1922 ed. New York, NY: Dover Publications Inc.; 1992. 419 pages. (secondary).

Reprinted from the original 1922 edition, this book includes twenty-seven fictional narratives, written by anthropologists, about various North and Central American Indian cultures. The editor attempts to provide a more realistic view of American Indians than was currently available from popular literature; the resulting collection is uneven. Most of the stories present the culture from the inside; two that are drawn directly from American Indian sources are particularly successful. Others may leave the reader more confused than informed. Some of the attitudes and concepts are outmoded. The introduction, by A.L. Kroeber, refers to the cultures described in this collection as representing "a ladder of culture of advancement," and speaks of an anthropologist and "his Indians." Notes on the various tribes give 1922 statistics, and accompanying bibliographies have not been updated.


INUIT (in Alaska the preferred term is Eskimo; in Canada, Inuit)


French, Alice (Inuit). The Restless Nomad. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Pemmican Publications, Inc.; 1991. 182 pages. (secondary) *.

This autobiography presents the life of Alice French (Masak), whose family lives in the Mackenzie Delta district of arctic Canada. The story begins when Alice's father, a trapper, picks her up from boarding school, where she had been taken after her mother contracted tuberculosis. Alice faces many new challenges returning to her family's traditional life, including learning her Native language (Inupeak) and customs. She describes daily life, her family's seasonal moves, and her two marriages, the last to a native of Ireland, where she and her children eventually go to live. Alice's story reveals the challenges faced by Native people of the arctic, who adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

Green, Paul aided by Abbe Abbott; Ahgupuk, George Eden (Eskimo), illus. I Am Eskimo: Aknik My Name. Juneau, AK: Alaska Northwest Publishing Company; 1959. 85 pages. (secondary).

Paul Green (Aknik) tells of his life growing up in an Eskimo village in Alaska. Accompanying these remembrances are line drawings by Native Eskimo artist George Ahgupuk. The author describes such traditional activities as hunting, whaling, and making igloos, and shares anecdotes on subjects as varied as Eskimo games, kissing, and the Arctic. This informative and entertaining book, written in pidgin English as spoken by the author, may be difficult to read.

McClanahan, A. J. Our Stories, Our Lives. Anchorage, AK: The CIRI Foundation; 1986. 245 pages. (secondary).

This collection of interviews records the personal experiences and traditional stories of 23 Alaska Native elders from the Cook Inlet region. The unifying themes of the collection include: the flu epidemic of 1917 and 1918, the world wars, Alaska statehood, and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Their statements and private reflections are "reminders of the extraordinary pace of change for the Native people in Alaska." Includes an historical introduction by a linguist, and black-and-white portraits of each person interviewed. s/Eskimo/Arctic/bio

Senungetuk, Vivian and Tiulana, Paul. A Place for Winter: Paul Tiulana's Story. Lunenburg, VT: Meriden-Stinehour Press; 1987. 125 pages. (elementary/secondary) *.

This biography of Paul Tiulana, an Alaskan Eskimo from King Island in the Bering Sea, is compiled from interviews conducted from 1978 through 1979 by his friend and colleague, Vivian Senungetuk. Detailed captions and black-and-white photographs by Father Bernard R. Hubbard, a Jesuit explorer who lived on King Island in 1938 and 1939, accompany Tiulana's vivid recollections of childhood, family, and community. Includes an introduction and notes on the photographer.

Wilder, Edna; Mayhew, Dorothy, illus. Once Upon An Eskimo Time. Edmonds, WA: Alaska Northwest Publishing Company; 1987. 183 pages. (secondary)

One year in the life of Nedercook, a young Norton Sound Eskimo girl, is recreated here by the author, Nedercook's daughter. The book describes a typical year, circa 1868, in Nedercook's childhood, when she was around ten years old. This interesting and well-written account of a small portion of this remarkable woman's life is filled with information about Alaskan Eskimo life before the coming of whites. Illustrated with black-and-white drawings.


Coehlene, Terri; Reasoner Charles, illus. Ka-ha-si and the Loon, an Eskimo Legend. Mahwah, NJ: Watermill Press; 1990. 46 pages. (lower elementary).

This legend of the hero, Ka-ha-si, who became Earth Bearer, describes his adventures and explains the origin of earthquakes. The original source of the legend is not given. The story is followed by a 10-page section of factual information about Eskimo history and contemporary life, a list of important dates, and a glossary. Illustrated with full-color drawings in the legend section and photographs in the factual section.

DeArmond, Dale. Berry Woman's Children. New York, NY: Greenwillow Press; 1985. 40 pages. (elementary).

In Eskimo mythology, Berry Woman was told by Raven to look after all of the animals and birds on the earth. These brief retellings of Eskimo legends each concern an arctic animal; general information about each animal precedes the short story. Includes a glossary and a pronunciation guide. Sources for the stories are not cited.

DeArmond, Dale; DeArmond, Dale, illus. The Boy Who Found the Light. Boston, MA: Sierra Club (in conjunction with Little Brown); 1990. 61 pages. (lower elementary/upper elementary).

This retelling of three Inuit folktales explain the origins of natural phenomena (e.g. why there are long days and short days) or of cultural beliefs (e.g. why there is a relationship of mutual respect between humans and animals). No sources for the tales are given. The text is written in simple, unassuming prose, which young readers should find easy to understand. A glossary is provided at the beginning of the book. Beautiful black-and-white woodcuts illustrate every other page.

DeArmond, Dale; DeArmond, Dale, illus. The Seal Oil Lamp. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company; 1988. 32 pages. (lower elementary).

In accordance with the Eskimo practice of leaving behind people who cannot provide for themselves, this story describes how blind, seven-year-old Allugua is left behind when his family leaves for their annual fishing camp. He is saved by the kindness of little mouse people, who also give Allugua a magic hunting song with which to pay honor to the animals. No references are cited for this adaptation of an Eskimo folktale. A short glossary is included.

Keithahn, Edward L.; Ahgupuk, George Aden (Inuit), illus. Alaskan Igloo Tales. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Publishing Co.; 1974: 139. pages. (elementary/secondary).

This 1920s collection of 35 Inuit stories is retold in simple, lively English. Most of the stories involve supernatural or magical events, ranging from amusing to mysterious, from macabre to violent. Each story is illustrated with an attractive, full-page black-and-white drawing. An illustrated glossary identifies objects and animals related to Eskimo life.

Loverseed, Amanda; Loverseed, Amanda, illus. Tikkatoo's Journey: An Eskimo Folk Tale. Blackie & Son (London, England) 1990 ed. New York, NY: Peter Bedrick Books; 1990. 26 pages. (Folk Tales of the World). (lower elementary).

In this retelling of an Eskimo story, Tikatoo travels to the Sun to save his grandfather's life. A source for the story is not cited, and the degree of adaptation is unclear. Full-color illustrations tend toward stylized whimsical fantasy, in contrast to the facial expressions that often seem distorted or unnecessarily grim.

San Souci, Robert D.; San Souci, Daniel, illus. Song of Sedna. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., Inc.; 1981. (elementary).

This adaptation of a Native story describes how an Eskimo girl is transformed into Sedna, the goddess of the sea, who helps fisherman and hunters. The source for this exciting, beautifully illustrated story is not cited. e/Eskimo/Arctic/legend.


Alexander, Bryan and Cherry. An Eskimo Family. Reprint of 1979 ed. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Co.; 1985. 29 pages. (Families Around the World). (lower and upper elementary) *.

A contemporary fifteen-year-old Greenland Eskimo boy describes daily life in his village over the course of a year. This excellent work provides a real sense of Eskimo life as do the many color photographs. Also included are phonetic pronunciation of the proper names, facts on Eskimos, and a map showing their geographic distribution.

Bennett, Allan C.; Flannigan, William E.; Hladun, Marilyn; Van Kampen, Vlasta illus. Inuit Community. First published as Eskimo: Journey Through Time, 1972 ed. Don Mills, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside; 1981. 64 pages. (elementary).

Naullaq, a young Inuit boy, describes his community of Segluk, located at the northern tip of Quebec. Short sections on family life, hunting, games, missionaries, and contemporary Inuit life are structured to include the segments "Did You Know?," a short list of facts; "Things to Do," suggested activities related to the text; and "Something to Think About," questions for discussion. Questions and activities are thoughtful, interesting, and adaptable to different age levels.

Burch, Ernest S.; Forman, Werner, photog. The Eskimos. Norman, OK: MacDonald and Co.; 1988. 125 pages. (secondary).

This ethnographic overview of Eskimo life, written by an arctic scholar, covers such topics as subsistence, transportation, art, mythology, and beliefs. Focus is on traditional life only. Color photographs (120 in all) illustrate the book. Includes a bibliography.

Ekoomiak, Norman (Inuk); Ekoomiak, Norman, illus. An Arctic Childhood. Oakville, Ontario, Canada: Chimo Publishing; no date. 38 pages. (elementary) *.

The author recalls his early life in Northern Quebec living with his family, including his grandfather. Each page of memories is illustrated by the author as he describes games he played as a child, hunting, building a kayak, and stories his grandfather told him. Translated into Inuktitut syllabics by Mrs. Sadie Hill.

Ekoomiak, Normee (Canadian Eskimo); Ekoomiak, Normee, illus. Arctic Memories. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Co.; 1990. 32 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

A bilingual text in English and Inuktuit gives the artist/author's comments on his paintings and applique work depicting boyhood memories. Among the topics covered are games, igloos, Native spirits, and the Inuit version of Christianity. Additional notes describe the Eskimo today and Eskimo language and art. The book includes a brief description of the artist's life.

Hughes, Jill; Wilson, Maurice, illus. Eskimos. Rev. ed. New York, NY: Gloucester Press; 1984. 32 pages. (elementary) ?.

This is an easy-to-read text about Eskimos, in which the author states that "the old hunting life has gone, but they are still the same friendly people today." She then contradicts herself by describing all aspects of traditional life in the present tense: sea life, igloos, travel, whaling, stories and songs, and childhood. The writing is simplistic, causing inevitable generalizations, such as "All Eskimos love drumming and dancing." Includes color illustrations and graphics, a glossary and an index.

Planche, Bernard; Grant, Donald, illus. Living With the Eskimos. Ossining, NY: Young Discovery Library; 1988. 38 pages. (lower elementary).

This short book for young readers describes the homes, food, clothing, and everyday life of a Greenland Eskimo community. Information on traditional lifestyles is often interspersed with references to modern Inuit life, resulting in a confusing presentation. Includes information on animals of the Arctic and other "people of the snows."

Siska, Heather Smith. People of the Ice: How the Inuit Lived. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, Ltd.; 1980. 47 pages. (upper elementary).

An informative guide to the Inuit people of the Arctic, this book includes information on the land and people, family, clothing, housing, food, hunting and fishing, beliefs and customs, and arts and crafts. A section on the effects of white encroachment describes the history of Inuit-white contact from the 17th century to the present, with information on the whaling industry, missionaries, traders, diseases, World War II, and indigenous cooperatives. Illustrated with many detailed black-and-white line drawings.

Smith, J. H. Greg. Eskimos: The Inuit of the Arctic. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Publications, Inc.; 1987. 48 pages. (Original Peoples). (upper elementary) *.

This clearly written guide "tells the story of the Inuit---their history, their life-style today, and their future in the modern world." The book covers such topics as hunting; social life; the changes brought by missionaries, fur traders, and whalers; and the drastically different modern world of the Inuit. Particularly appealing is the book's emphasis on the recent history of the Inuit and their lives today, including the balance of traditional Inuit customs and lifeways with modern cultural influences and the future of the Inuit. Includes color and black-and-white photographs and illustrations, glossaries, bibliography, and index.

Steltzer, Ulli; Steltzer, Ulli, photog. Building an Igloo. Toronto, Ontario: Camdaen House Publications; 1991. 32 pages. (elementary) *.

This is a photographic description of how an Inuit father and son build a snow house. Today, Inuit live in Western-style houses, but still build igloos as temporary hunting shelters.


Andrews, Jan; Wallace, Ian, illus. Very Last First Time. New York, NY: Atheneum (Margaret K. McElderry); 1986. 28 pages. (lower elementary) *.

A contemporary Inuit girl goes mussel-collecting for the first time alone. This fascinating story describes an aspect of traditional life set against a contemporary background. The text and the beautifully detailed, full-color illustrations give the reader a real sense of life in the Ungava Bay region of northern Canada.

Damjam, Mischa; Wilkon, Jozef, illustrator. Atuk. English translation of 1964 Swiss ed. New York, NY: North-South Books; 1990. 26 pages. (lower elementary).

Five-year-old Atuk's dog is eaten by a wolf. Years later, Atuk avenges himself by killing the wolf but finds that this does not bring him happiness. This book offers no insight into American Indian or Eskimo cultural life. Includes full-color illustrations on every page.

Davis, Deborah; Labrasca, Judy, illus. The Secret of the Seal. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc.; 1989. 57 pages. (elementary).

This is the story of Kyo, a young boy living in a small Eskimo settlement, who hopes to kill his first seal. Kyo finally encounters a seal, but is unable to kill the trusting animal and, instead, befriends it. The seal is at risk when Kyo's uncle visits to capture a seal for a zoo in the city. Includes black-and-white illustrations.

George, Jean C.; Minor, Wendell, illus. Julie. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1994, 226 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

In this sequel to Julie and the Wolves, teenage Julie returns to live with her father and his new white wife. The underlying theme of the novel is the struggle to maintain traditional Eskimo values in today's world. Julie's father domesticates musk ox for their fleece. The wolves (Julie's friends) represent a threat to the herd, and will be shot if they hunt in the area. Julie's efforts to find a way to save the wolf pack from destruction are the main action of the book. A fair amount of cultural information is presented, such as activities at fishing camp, building a storm shelter, basketmaking, and a description of a whale festival, as well as interesting descriptions of wolf behavior. Includes attractive black-and-white illustrations.

George, Jean C. Julie of the Wolves. New York, NY: Harper C Child Books; 1972. 180 pages. (upper elementary/secondary) *.

Thirteen-year-old Mijax (Julie) runs away from her young husband in Barrow, Alaska to join her pen pal in San Francisco. Lost in the Alaskan wilderness, she befriends a pack of wolves remembering her father's story that he had been fed by wolves when he was without food while on a hunt. Through her father's teachings and the wolves' friendship, she survives the harsh arctic conditions and becomes committed to living the traditional Eskimo life.

Houston, James; Houston, James, illus. Frozen Fire: A Tale of Courage. New York, NY: Macmillan Child Group; 1981. 160 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

In this exciting adventure story set in Baffin Island, Canada, Matthew Morgan, a thirteen-year-old white boy, and Kayak, his Eskimo friend, are lost in the tundra. In the course of their many mishaps, the differences between the boys' values become apparent. For instance, Kayak places more value on the flint for fire-making than on the gold they discover. Includes black and white illustrations.

Houston, James. Tikta'Liktak: An Inuit-Eskimo Legend. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, Jovanich; 1990. 64 pages. (upper elementary).

In this retelling of an Inuit-Eskimo story, young Tikta'Liktak is carried off on a drifting ice floe to a deserted island where he struggles to survive. No original source for this exciting, well-told story is cited. Includes black-and-white illustrations.

Houston, James; Houston, James, illus. Akavak: An Inuit-Eskimo Legend. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanich; 1968. 80 pages. (upper elementary).

This retelling of an Inuit adventure story describes Akavak's and his grandfather's exciting, obstacle-filled journey to visit the grandfather's brother. The story is well told, and its fast-moving action is interspersed with long periods of anxious waiting. Includes black-and-white drawings.

Houston, James; Houston, James, illus. The White Archer: An Inuit Eskimo Legend. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; 1990. 96 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

In this fast-paced coming-of-age Eskimo story, young Kungo loses his family to avenging Caribou Indians. The main action of the story centers around his years of preparation to avenge his family's death. Under the tutelage of knowledgeable old Ittuk and his wife, he learns to become a hunter and bowman. Kungo eventually realizes the senselessness of revenge and instead befriends the Caribou. No source is cited for the original Eskimo story. Includes black-and-white drawings.

Houston, James; Houston, James, illus. The Falcon Bow: An Arctic Legend. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1986. 96 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

In this sequel to The White Archer, Kungo brings his sister and her husband back to his island home to visit Ittuk and his wife, Luvi Luvi La. Includes black-and-white illustrations.

Luenn, Nancy; Waldman, Neil, illus. Nessa's Fish. New York, NY: Atheneum; 1990. 27 pages. (lower elementary).

Nessa, a young Eskimo girl, saves her sick grandmother when they are forced to spend the night alone and unsheltered on the tundra. Appealing, full-color illustrations may compensate for what appears to be an unrealistic story. The reader learns little about Eskimo culture.

Munsch, Robert (Eskimo); Kusugak, Michael; Krykorka, Vladyana, illus. A Promise is a Promise. Toronto, Canada: Annick Press; 1988. 28 pages. (lower elementary).

This contemporary story set in the arctic is about a family's outwitting the Quallupillug, undersea monsters, who pull unaccompanied children through the ice. This well-written story is based on an idea from the Eskimo author's childhood. Excellent, full-color illustrations depict many details of modern life.

O'Dell, Scott. Black Star, Bright Dawn. Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin Company; 1988. 134 pages. (upper elementary/secondary).

Bright Dawn, an Alaska Eskimo girl in her late teens, replaces her disabled father as representative of the town of Ikuma in the annual Iditarod dog-sled race. Though the major part of the story concerns the mishaps of the race, limited cultural information is included on such topics as the clash between traditional and Christian beliefs, Eskimo stories, and igloo building.

Rogers, Jean; Munoz, Rie, illus. Runaway Mittens. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books; 1987. 20 pages. (lower elementary).

This is a contemporary, simple story about an Eskimo boy, Pica, and his mittens, which always seem to go astray. Appealing full-color illustrations reveal some details of contemporary and traditional life.

Sage, James; Flather, Lisa. Where the Great Bear Watches. New York, NY: Viking; 1993. 25 pages. (lower elementary).

This simply written story for very young readers is about a young Inuit boy who paddles his kayak and sings joyfully to the birds, fish, and the great bear. While not a good source of information on Inuit culture, the story is beautifully illustrated with bold, colorful paintings of the animals, landscape, and people of the north. e/Arctic/Inuit/fic.

Sis, Peter; Sis, Peter, illus. A Small Tale from the Far Far North. New York, NY: Alfred Knopf; 1993. 30 pages. (elementary).

Jan Welzl, a Czechoslovakian folk hero, supposedly traveled overland across Siberia from Central Europe in the late 1800s. The author has taken a portion of this folk tale and embellished it. The result is this richly illustrated story of the explorer Welzl and of the Eskimos who save his life and become his friends and teachers. The highly stylized drawings and sparse text depict Welzl's adventures in the arctic, but are probably more fictional than factual. Although a charming book, it is not recommended as a source of information on Eskimos.

Steiner, Barbara; Mayo, Gretchen Will, illus. Whale Brother. New York, NY: Walker and Company; 1988. 25 pages. (lower elementary).

This is a touching story about Omu, an Eskimo boy, and what helps him become a successful carver and musician. Described as "stillness," this skill provides the time necessary to capture the spirit of what the artist seeks to express. Includes beautiful full-color illustrations.

Turner, Bonnie. The Haunted Igloo. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin; 1991. 152 pages. (upper elementary).

In this coming-of-age story set in Canada's Northwest Territories in the 1930s, Jean Paul, a recently arrived ten-year-old French-Canadian boy, eventually wins acceptance from a group of Eskimo boys. The Eskimo aspects are secondary in this "white frontier family" story. A small amount of cultural information on Eskimo life is included, for instance, a description of the interior of an igloo.


Blackman, Margaret B. Sadie Brower Neakok: An Inupiaq Woman. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press; 1989. 274 pages. (secondary) *.

This life history based on audio-taped interviews with 71-year-old Sadie Brower Neakok gives fascinating glimpses into Native Alaskan life during this century. Sadie straddles two worlds. Her caring, compassionate nature and her bicultural background (Eskimo mother, white father) make her a valuable interpreter of the new ways introduced into her Northern Alaskan community. Her lifetime of service to that community as teacher, public health worker, and, finally, magistrate, give her an insider's perspective on the problems brought by modernity, particularly the application of the U.S. legal system in a traditional society. At the same time, Sadie fulfills the traditional role of wife and mother, making mukluks, parkas, tents and boat covers, processing fish at fish camp, and performing the duties of a whaler's wife. The author adds informative notes, explaining aspects of Alaskan history and life, such as whaling practices. Short excerpts from other writers, including Sadie's father, are included. An interesting description of the process of recording a life history is contained in the appendix. Incudes a bibliography, notes, maps, black-and-white photographs, and index.


Brown, Emily Ivanoff (Inupiaq Eskimo). The Roots of Ticasuk: An Eskimo Woman's Family Story. Revised 1974 ed. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Publishing Company; 1981. 107 pages. (secondary).

Through the retelling of stories handed down orally from generation to generation, this book traces the history of the people of Unalakleet, an Eskimo community on the Bering Sea Coast. The author, Ticasuk, herself an Inupiaq, recounts the origins of her people and follows this legend with stories from the more recent past. She wrote with the purpose of helping her descendants "know who their people are." The stories contain interesting and valuable information on the feelings of the Inupiaq Eskimos as they experienced contact with Russians, and later Americans; practiced female infanticide; and dealt with other hardships. Unfortunately, time periods are not specified for the stories of the more recent past, and this can be confusing. Includes an Eskimo-English glossary.

Kendall, Russ; Kendall, Russ, photographer. Eskimo Boy: Life in an Inupiaq Eskimo Village. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc.; 1992. 40 pages. (elementary) *.

This photo essay describes life for seven-year-old Norman Kokeok, an Inupiaq Eskimo who lives in the village of Shishmaref on a small island off the northwest coast of Alaska. Illustrated with large color photographs. Includes a short glossary of Inupiaq words and a brief description of modern-day Eskimos and Alaska.


George, Jean C. Water Sky. New York, NY: Harper C Child Books; 1989. 224 pages. (upper elementary/secondary) *.

Lincoln Stonewright, an upperclass teenager from New England, goes to Barrow, Alaska to join an Eskimo whaling crew in the hope of finding his Uncle Jack. Lincoln's powerful experiences in the Arctic force him to confront many complex issues, such as the racism he encounters from being a "tanik" (white), the clash between Eskimo whaling rights and environmentalists' concerns for the endangered whales, and the challenge faced by Alaskan youth in balancing traditional and modern Inupiat culture. A well-written and engaging book with much detailed information on whales, whaling, and the arctic environment. Includes an Inupiat glossary and pronunciation guide.

George, Jean Craighead. Minor, Wendell, illus. Arctic Son. New York: Hyperion Books for Children; 1997. 28 pages. (lower elementary)

Luke, who lives near the Arctic Ocean with his parents, is given an Inupiat Eskimo name, Kupaaq, by Aalak, a family friend. The story describes Kupaaq's early experiences with Aalak, who introduces him to Inupiat activities that take place during the seasons of a year, during the cold, dark winters and the long summer days. Beautifully illustrated with full-page color pictures.


Sloat, Teri, author and illustrator. The Eye of the Needle: Based on a Yupik Tale as told by Betty Huffman. New York: Dutton's Children's Books, 1990. 30 pages. (elementary).

A grandmother tells her young grandson Amik that he is now big enough to hunt for food. He can't resist tasting his catch and returns home with his belly full, his hands empty, and his body too big to fit into the sod hut. This charming story tells how Grandmother helps Amik with a little magic from her ivory needle. Beautifully illustrated with large color pictures.


Fienup-Riordan, Ann. Eskimo Essays: Yup'ik Lives and How We See Them. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press; 1990. 261 pages. (secondary).

This collection of easy-to-read, scholarly essays attempts to dispel popular misunderstandings and stereotypes commonly associated with Eskimos by "detailing Yup'ik exceptions to the Eskimo rule." Topics include diversity among the arctic Eskimos; meaning and symbolism of Yup'ik masks and dance; missionary/Eskimo encounters; the influence of Russian Orthodox religion on Yup'ik culture; warfare; Eskimo law; and continuity and change in Yup'ik culture. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs. Includes a list of references and an index.

Jenness, Aylette; Rivers, Alice (Yup'ik).; Jenness, Aylette, photog. Two Worlds: A Yup'ik Eskimo Family. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin; 1989. 84 pages. (elementary/secondary) *.

This contemporary story describes the daily life of a Yup'ik family in a small Alaskan town on the Bering Sea. First-person accounts by representatives of three generations recall the changes of the past fifty years and indicate the importance of maintaining tradition in the family. Includes black-and-white photographs, a bibliography, and a resource list.

BackGo back to Main Page for North American Indian Bibliography.