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.

Watching a polar bear scratch its back at our local zoo.

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+

Check out this author and illustrator!


  • Build an igloo — The Toy Report


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