10 Children’s Books About the Arctic

It is hard for adults, let alone kids, to imagine life in the Arctic. These ten books provide a fascinating introduction to how people survive in the Arctic and to the culture of the Inuit and Inupiat people.

The kids watching a polar bear scratch its back.

Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Josse. A dialog between mother and daughter that describes the love a parent has for a child. The conversation could take place between a mother and daughter in any country. The beautiful illustrations depict Inuit culture. Ages 2+

Kumak’s Fish by Michael Bania. A tall tale about a man Kumak and his family who go ice fishing, with a hilarious ending. See also Kumak’s House by Michael Bania. Ages 3+

Berry Magic by Teri Sloat and Betty Huffmon. A magical story about how tasty salmonberries, raspberries, cranberries and blueberries came to grow on the tundra. The story ends with a recipe for akutaq (Eskimo ice cream) served each year with berries at the fall festival. Ages 3+

The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale by Lydia Dabcovich. An Inuit folktale about an old woman who takes in an orphan polar bear. The polar bear provides meat and fish for the women. When men in the village decide to kill the polar bear, the woman must send the polar bear away. Ages 3+

Whale Snow by Annie Patterson. The story of a successful whaling trip told from the point of view of a six-year-old Inupiaq boy named Amiqqaq. When Amiqqaq’a father, a whaling captain, returns home and announces that a whale has given itself to their village, Amiqqaq asks to go with his father to help prepare the whale and celebrate. Amiqqaq learns about the customs and spiritual significance of whaling to the Inupiat people. Ages 4+

Building an Igloo by Ulli Steltzer. A fascinating book about an Inuit father and son building an igloo. Building an Igloo explains that while the Inuit no longer live in igloos, the father and son in this book build igloos when they go hunting. Ages 4+

Ookpik by Bruce Hiscock. The story of a snowy owl’s first year. The snowy old travels from Northern Canada to the United States in the fall and returns to Northern Canada in the spring. Ookpik describes the topography of the Arctic tundra and the transitions from Arctic tundra to taiga to the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, United States, that the snowy owl observes during his flight. Ages 4+

Sled Dogs Run by Jonathan London. Set in Alaska, Sled Dogs Run describes a young girl’s first solo run as a musher. Ages 4+

Arctic Son by Jean Craighead George and Wendell Minor. Written by the author of My Side of the Mountain, Arctic Son describes the adventures of a young boy growing up in an Inupiat village. Jean Craighead George has written another story of Arctic life entitled Snow BearAges 4+

North Pole, South Pole by Nancy Smiler Levinson and Diane Dawson Hearn. An excellent non-fiction book about the North and South Poles that provides kids with a clear introduction to the Arctic’s climate, seasons, animals, plants, and people. Ages 4+

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5 Responses to 10 Children’s Books About the Arctic

  1. Christina Ernst says:

    So greatful to find my find my long lost childhood friend Ookpik! I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am 50 yrs. old. My very favorite story and stuffed animal of all time was about Ookpik! Thanks to social media and this site, I can now share this story with my 4 yr. old granddaughter. This story meant so much to me as a child, that I have literally searched every library in Cincinnati to Maine to Virginia Beach. I am almost to the point of tears! Silly I know, but thank you! Thank you!!

  2. Claire says:

    Do you know of any books that I can use as part of a science topic ‘Heat transfer’? I am trying to use a story tale as an intro to the unit. I was looking on this page to see if I can use Eskimo clothing etc?

  3. Brenda Kahn says:

    That’s a nice list of Arctic books. Thanks. There are quite a few I don’t know and will be looking up. One of my favorites is Arctic Lights Arctic Nights by Debbie S. Miller. It’g gorgeous and very dramatic, as the seasonal changes in the arctic are. Here’s my review: http://proseandkahn.livejournal.com/203205.html



    • Amy says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your review! Arctic Lights Arctic Nights is a great non-fiction books w- fantastic photographs and interesting descriptions of how the Arctic changes from one season to the next. We are borrowing it from the library now, and my 6-year-old son likes it. Arctic Lights is a good book for kids interested in learning more facts about the Arctic than the stories in this booklist provide.

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