Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bilingual Children's Book Nominated for Prestigious Canadian Silver Birch Award

An Inuktitut and English children’s book, Uumajut, which received support from the Qikiqani Inuit Association’s community initiatives program, has won a nomination for a Silver Birch Express Award, the QIA announced Oct. 19.

A page from Uumajut: volume 2, a children's book Arctic wildlife. This new release from Inhabiit Media teaches young readers about Arctic animals and their traditional Inuit uses. Uumajut is written by Simon Awa, the late Seeglook Akeegok, Anna Zeigler and Stephanie McDonald and illustrated by Romi Caron. (FILE PHOTO)The award is part of the “Forest of Reading Program,” an awards program in Ontario.  A committee of educators and librarians from across that province nominate titles.

Its members assess all the nominated works based on their literary merit and their contribution to the enrichment of Ontario students.  Nominated books are then distributed to every participating classroom in Ontario. 

“We are proud to have partnered with the Nunavut Bilingual Education Society by funding Uumajut in our effort to promote and advance Inuktitut literature. Our Community Initiatives Program is making a positive difference for our region and the territory,” said QIA president Okalik Eegeesiak in a news release.

The Silver Birch nomination means that Uumajut will be read by more than 2,000 Grade Three students across Ontario and introduce these southern students to Inuit conservation values, traditional practices, and language.

“Without the combined efforts of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, the Nunavut Bilingual Education Society, Inhabit Media Inc., and the GN Department of the Environment, this book could not have been such as success. This project involved working together with Inuit and non‐Inuit to ensure that northern perspectives are represented in Canadian literature,” said Louise Flaherty, who is vice-president of the Nunavut Bilingual Education Society, and a co-founder of Inhabit Media.

Uumajut, published by Inhabit Media Inc., has already been distributed free of charge to Nunavut schools.  Inhabit Media is also sending dozens of “cold, creepy Canadian monsters” down south in time for Halloween, the publisher said in a recent news release.

Included in the 2011 “Canadian Monsters” promotion are three brand-new Inhabit titles: The Shadows the Rush Past: A Collection of Frightening Inuit Folktales, Ajiit: Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic, and The Legend of the Fog.

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