Written by: Darryl Baker
Illustrated by: Ali Hinch
For ages: 4-8 years
Language: English & Inuktitut
Topics Covered: First Nations, Inuit, Outdoors, Dog-Sledding, Growing Up, Own Voices.
This is the 4th installment of the Kamik books, but still worth checking out if it’s the first one you come across! The series is about Jake, a young boy interested in learning how to lead a team of sled dogs. Kamik is his lead dog, and they have a wonderful relationship.
Jake learns how to run the team and care for the dogs from his Akkak, his uncle, and Inuktitut words are sprinkled throughout the book as well. Throughout the course of a year, Jake learns how to train his dogs in different weather and seasons before he is ready to run his first race! The story is both educational and fun, and I love the peek into the Arviat community in Nunavut through these memories of the author. A perfect Own Voices text for animal-lovers looking to diversify the animals they learn about! I also love that this book talks a lot about perseverance and working towards a goal that seems like a long way off.
Darryl Baker is an Inuit teacher in Arviat, Nunavut. He was born in Churchill, Manitoba, and raised in Arviat. In 2006, Darryl graduated from the Nunavut Teacher Education Program and he has been teaching at the Levi Angmak Elementary School since. Besides his career as a teacher, he enjoys dog mushing and has been an active participant in Hudson Bay Quests and other dog team races between Rankin and Arviat.
Besides illustrating children’s books basically as soon as she could run off with her Illustration degree from Sheridan College, Ali has worked on a variety of unique projects. She’s taken a puppet design and acting workshop, aided in the building of puppeteering sets and illustrated concept designs for puppets that have been featured in Taqqut Productions’ television series Anaana’s Tent. She is credited as an Illustrator in season one of Anaana’s Tent as well as having a few of her books featured in their Little Storytime segment. Ali has also worked with musicians and artists to design CDs and promos for their work, notably, she has designed CDs for the annual Inuktut songwriting contest Qilaut from 2015 to present.
When she’s not drawing, Ali wanders the streets of Toronto drinking iced tea and making new dog friends (when it’s too cold out she just scrolls through dogs’ Instagrams).