Sweetest Kulu

Written by: Celina Kalluk

Illustrated by: Alexandria Neonakis

For Ages: Infant and up

Language: Bilingual: Inuktitut and English; English.

Topics Covered: Love, Family, First Nations People, Indigenous Voices, Inuit Culture.

Summary: “Kulu” is an Inuktitut term of endearment, akin to “Mija” in Spanish.  This book’s narrator is a mother speaking to their own Kulu.  The narrator is speaking to the animals of the Arctic, asking them to endow her Kulu with gifts.  This book is lyrical and shows the deep reverence for nature that Inuit culture values.  Narwhal and Beluga gift little Kulu with spontaneity, Arctic Hare gifts the ability to love easily, and Polar Bear gifts the lesson to treat all animals with respect.  The illustrations by Neonakis show the most adorable baby sleeping peacefully in the arms of a polar bear, swimming with whales, and laying in the grass.  A great book to read when the message is the full embodiment of loving your child.

Reflection Questions:

  • What animal do you think gave Kulu the best gift?
  • Why do you think it’s an important gift?
  • What would you like to give a new baby that isn’t a physical object?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Make a list of traits you think is important in a person.  Which ones do you have now?  How can you develop more of them?
  • Write a book for a new baby.  What do you think important for them to know? How could your book help them while they are growing up?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

celina kallukCelina Kalluk was born and raised in Resolute Bay, Nunavut, to Zipporah Kalluk and Leonard Thibodeau. Celina has two brothers and five sisters, one sister-niece, and many more beautiful nieces and nephews. She also has four daughters of her own, Jazlin, Aulaja, Saima, and Ramata. She dedicates this book to all the mothers and fathers of this earth and to our wonderful children. Celina is also a visual artist and has illustrated several book covers and other literacy materials. Currently, she is the Inuktitut Language Specialist and Cultural Arts teacher for grades seven through twelve at Qarmartalik School in Resolute Bay. Sweetest Kulu is her first book for children.

alex neonakis

Originally from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, Alexandria Neonakis currently lives with her fiancee and two cats in Los Angeles. She works full time as a Concept artist at the game development company, Naughty Dog. She also does freelance children’s book illustration, and is represented by Bright Group. Recently she has shipped Uncharted Lost Legacy, Uncharted 4, The Last of Us and its DLC Left Behind. She also illustrated the bedtime story Sweetest Kulu,  written by Celina Kalluk. She is currently working on The Last of Us Part 2, and various unreleased children’s book projects.

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