Michael Kusugak

Michael Kusugak is Inuit and was riased in Nunavut. "I’ve always been close to the land, the sea and the animals,” he says. “I want to teach everything I know about how to live here, and write about everything kids like to do."

During his childhood, Michael’s family traveled by dog team; they lived in igloos in the winter and tents in the summer. He had no access to books as a child, and didn't speak a word of English until he was seven. “Every night, my grandma would tell us a story to put us to sleep,” he recalls. In 1954, a float plane whisked Michael off to a residential school in Chesterfield Inlet. “When you're seven years old and hauled away from your parents, it's very hard. I cried the whole year I was there—that’s all I remember. The following fall, when the airplane came again, I went and hid in the hills. I didn't go to school that year.” Michael went on to become one of the first Inuit from the eastern Arctic to graduate from high school, piecing together his education in Rankin Inlet, Yellowknife, Churchill and Saskatoon.

While in school, Michael enjoyed writing stories and poems, but he never thought of becoming an author until he met Robert Munsch. “He stayed with us during Children’s Book Week once, and I told him all kinds of legends. He suggested that I write them down, so we worked on one together, and eventually it was published!” That story, A Promise is a Promise, is based on one of Michael’s childhood memories. He explains, “I take things that are native to me, such as the northern lights, and create a story around them.”

Michael has since published many other titles, including Baseball Bats for Christmas, Hide and Sneak, Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails, My Arctic 1,2,3, Arctic Stories and Who Wants Rocks?— all of which are stunningly complemented by Vladyana Langer Krykorka's artwork. Northern Lights won the Ruth Schwartz Award in 1994. A Promise is a Promise and Northern Lights have been developed as CD-ROMs.

Prior to writing books for children, Michael spent 15 years working for the government in various positions. In his last posting he was Director of Community Programs for Arctic College. Now he devotes his time to writing, storytelling and speaking to educators. In 1997 he shared his stories at Young People’s Theatre in Toronto, during the run of a double-feature stage presentation: Michael Kusugak's Stories of the Inuit and A Promise is a Promise.

One of the most rewarding experiences for Michael is visiting children in schools and at libraries. He mesmerizes young audiences with narratives from his Arctic home and tales told with string. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, boating and looking out his study window at the northern landscape stretching towards the horizon.

Viewing 1 - 15 of 40 |
Arctic Comics
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

The book contains five tales of myth, adventure, and humour told at the top of the world, written and drawn by Inuit and northern Canadian comic creators. 

Stories include On Waiting, award-winning Inuit author Michael Kusugak (Baseball Bats for Christmas, The Shaman) and landscape artist Susan Thurston Shirley's tale of a poignant and poetic episode from his early life at the edge of the world. Jose Kusugak and Germaine Arnaktauyok recount one of many magical adventures of Kiviuq, the ‘first man’ of Inuit legend in Kiviuq vs Big Bee. Winnipeg writer, Nicholas Burns, presents three stories. Blizzard House, with Winnipeg artist George Freeman, a science fiction adventure about a teenage couple trapped between futuristic visions of the arctic that are doing battle around them; The Great Slo-Pitch Massacre a humourous tale of young love gone wrong during a municipal slo-pitch tournament (Yes, slo-pitch is played in the Arctic); and Film Nord, a farcical detective story starring an Inuktitut RCMP officer. When someone is murdered on an Arctic movie set, Constable Puqittuq and her loyal dog must solve the bizarre crime. 

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$17.99

Out of Print
Curse of the Shaman: A Marble Island Story
Artists:
Vladyana Krykorka
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

Sometimes even shamans get cranky. That was baby Wolverine’s misfortune — to be cursed by an out-of-sorts shaman frustrated by his own baby daughter’s incessant crying. Not only has shaman Paaliaq forbidden the future marriage of Wolverine to Breath, Paaliaq’s beautiful but teary baby girl, he has cursed Wolverine, banishing him when he becomes a young man. And even when a contrite Paaliaq later revokes the curse, the shaman’s even crankier magic animal will not. Now Wolverine finds himself stranded on a barren island, locked in a life-or-death struggle to return to his home, his family and a very special young girl.

Michael Kusugak, consummate storyteller and bestselling author, conjures up an Inuit tale of adventure, perseverance and first-time love shot through with humanity and humour. This is a story perfect for its pre-teen and ’tween audience, where even the strong and the mighty have bad days, the bully gets his due and a dream can come true.

Author's Note: "I was thinking The Curse Of The Shaman, A Marble Island Story would make a wonderful book for those studying Inuit in social studies programs."

Reviews
"Wonderful! I loved every minute of it. Native story-telling at its best."— Tomson Highway, author of Fox on the Ice and Dragonfly Kites

Additional Information
168 pages | 5.50" x 8.25"

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La malédiction du chamane
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;
Deux bébés promis en mariage l’un à l’autre, une chouette des neiges et un siksik maléfique,la vieille femme de sous les mers… et un chamane en colère.

Un récit initiatique par le plus grand conteur inuit avec des illustrations d’Isabelle Salmon

Inuit du nord du Canada, Michael Kusugak, Arvaarluk de son vrai prénom, naît en 1948 sur le territoire qu’on appelle à présent Nunavut. Jusqu’à l’âge de douze ans, il est l’un des tout derniers à connaître la vie traditionnelle en nomadisant avec ses parents.
Installé aujourd’hui à Rankin Inlet sur la Baie d’Hudson où il écrit des livres, et « nomadise » à la rencontre de la jeunesse du monde entier. Il a remporté le prix Ruth Schwartz de la littérature jeunesse, ainsi que d’autres récompenses comme le prix Hackmatack. Ses livres sont traduits en français, en japonais, en coréen et en braille.
La traductrice de cet ouvrage, Emilie Maj, est anthropologue de formation. Elle est passionnée par la vie dans les contrées polaires.

À LA DÉCOUVERTE DES INUITS DU CANADA
L’histoire se déroule avant l’arrivée des Occidentaux au nord du Canada, sur la Baie d’Hudson, en ces temps immémoriaux où les Inuits vivaient de la pêche et de la chasse aux animaux marins. L’Île de Marbre, où va se dérouler l’aventure, est une île inhabitée de l’archipel. C’est le territoire traditionnel de chasse des Inuits : on y trouve notamment des ours polaires et des lièvres arctiques. Dans cette région du monde où domine la toundra arctique, il fait jusqu’à -45°C en hiver et la température la plus chaude en été est de 25°C. En 1999, ce territoire qui est l’une des régions les moins peuplées du monde reçoit le nom de Nunavut, littéralement « La terre des hommes », et obtient plus d’indépendance au sein du Canada.

Aujourd’hui, le Nunavut accueille près de 35 600 habitants, parmi lesquels près de 25 000 Inuits. Parmi eux, 20 000 parlent leur langue, l’inuktitut. Les Inuits ne vivent pas uniquement au Nunavut. Il vivent également au Groenland, en Alaska et en Sibérie. Autrefois, ils avaient tous en commun une culture nomade de la banquise.

Ils l’ont remarqué :

À la limite du récit ethnographique, le texte nous propose de découvrir ce peuple avec son mode de vie, ses contes et ses légendes. Plus qu’une simple histoire initiatique du héros, c’est nous, lecteur, qui sommes initiés à cette population. (Xian Moriarty blog, 21/02/2017)

Ce roman suit la structure narrative du conte, où le surnaturel se trame au réalisme des croyances et des pratiques. Le jeune lecteur pourra découvrir la vie quotidienne de ces nomades inuits et se familiariser avec les animaux de ces contrées polaires. Une préface et une postface l’aideront à cadrer l’ensemble. En outre, comme tous les contes, ce récit offre à l’adolescent une leçon de vie : être « gentil avec ceux qui ne peuvent s’aider eux-mêmes », savoir reconnaître ses erreurs, savoir pardonner à autrui. Car ces populations du Grand Nord ne peuvent survivre que grâce à l’entraide et au partage. Ce récit enseigne que, face au destin, malgré son courage et sa ténacité, l’homme seul ne peut réussir sans l’aide de la divine Nature et l’intercession des animaux. (Blog Wodka, 19/01/2017)
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A Promise Is A Promise
Artists:
Vladyana Krykorka
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

Contrary to her mothers advice, Allashua decides to challenge the Qallupilluit, an imaginary Inuit character who lives under the sea ice near her home. After a surprising turn of events, the entire family is now free to fish on the ice because legend tells that children with their parents may never be captured, and a "promise is a promise."

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.00" x 8.00"

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Arctic Stories
Artists:
Vladyana Krykorka
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

Acclaimed Inuit storyteller Michael Kusugak weaves a tapestry of tales about ten-year-old Agatha and her accidental heroism in the high Arctic of 1958. The first of Agatha''s stories is based on one of Kusugak''s real life experiences, when an eerie, black airship flew over Chesterfield Inlet in 1958. A sleepy Agatha "saves" the community from the monstrous flying object.

In the second story, Agatha notices the playful antics of the winter ravens and takes an interest in the many migrating birds. As the seasons change, she begins to favor more beautiful and peaceful birds of spring, until the ravens return.

The third of Agatha''s stories takes place in the fall when Agatha is sent to school in Chesterfield Inlet, an English-speaking community south of her home. During an afternoon of skating, Agatha rescues a show-off priest, who has inadvertently demonstrated the danger of thin ice.

The three Agatha stories resonate with the nostalgia and affection of Kusugak''s childhood memories.

Reviews
"This collection of three tales, set in Repulse Bay, features an endearing 10-year-old heroine, named Agatha, through whose eyes the reader experiences life in the high Arctic.... The author weaves a tapestry of simply told stories, each of which, by skilful use of detail, manages to bring to life the experience of growing up in a small Inuit community.... Vladyana Krykorka's paintings give the reader a beautifully detailed rendition of the Arctic landscape in every season. Her depictions of Kusugak's human and animal characters are wonderfully satisfying, full of life and humour.... [They] complement the text brilliantly.... The beauty of Kusugak's work lies in his ability to evoke for his southern readers a vivid picture of a way of life that is fast disappearing. Arctic Tales will be a welcome addition to the resources that teachers and librarians look for as they plan their units on the Arctic and the Inuit. The book's Grade-three reading level should guarantee its popularity among young students doing projects on Inuit life. Recommended."— Valerie Nielsen, Canadian Materials, October 1999

 
"Vivid and engaging... This collection of stories captures a feeling for a transitional time in the Inuit culture and history and resonates with the storyteller's art" — Canadian Teacher, June 2013
 
Educator Information
Recommended Ages: 5-9.
 
This illustrated children's story is a grades 10/11 English First Peoples Resource for the unit First Steps - Exploring Residential Schools and Reconciliation through Children's Literature.
 
Additional Information
40 pages | 8.25" x 10.50"

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Baseball Bats for Christmas
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

A unique glimpse of childhood in the Arctic by an acclaimed Inuit storyteller.

The year is 1955 and Arvaarluk and his friends watch as Rocky Parsons lands his plane on the ice in Repulse Bay, a tiny community “smack dab on the Arctic Circle.” Having never seen trees before, the children try to guess what the six green spindly things are that Rocky delivers. One of the boys has a brilliant idea: why not use them as baseball bats?

Full of vibrant, richly-colored illustrations, this story introduces young readers to a time, place, and culture that may be new to them. The Arctic way of life is realistically portrayed by the author, whose narrative voice resonates with the lilt of his native language. Readers will be able to listen to Michael telling the story by connecting to a link given in the book. The illustrator spent time in the Arctic to ensure that her artwork was a faithful representation of the people and places in the story. With its winter landscapes and Christmas scenes, this would make an ideal holiday gift book.

Educator Information
Guided Reading Level: Fountas and Pinnell P

Themes: Inuit; Arctic; community; multicultural; friends; resourcefulness.

Additional Information
24 pages | 8.25" x 10.50"

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Des battes de baseball pour Noel
Format: Paperback
Never having seen trees, the children in Repulse Bay decide that the funny things sent them one year must actually be baseball bats. An autobiographical tale from Michael Kusugak's childhood tells a story of life in the arctic, and easily different cultures can interpret things differently.
$6.95

Out of Print
Hide and Sneak
Artists:
Vladyana Krykorka
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

On the great tundra plains of Nunavut, there is a creature that just loves to play hide and seek. The only problem with this creature is, if it helps you hide, no one will ever find you again. Well, Allashua loves to play hide and seek…

Allashua ignores the inuksugaq as she plays hide-and-seek. Soon she encounters an Ijiraq--a tiny half-bird, half-human creature who loves to play. Allashua remembers her mother telling her that if an Ijiraaq hides you, no one will ever find you again. Eventually, Ijiraq disappears and Allashua gets lost on the tundra. With no idea of which way to go, she heads toward a small block dot on a far-off hill. When Allashua realizes the dot is the inuksugaq and that it can guide her safely home, she understands the riddle of its existence.

Inuit author Michael Kusugak (A Promise is a Promise, Baseball Bats for Christmas) again demonstrates that he is a masterful writer. A mythological figure and traditional Inuit practices, set the backdrop for this dramatic story. 

Reviews
"Hide and Sneak is an excellent book, and a good introduction for young children to the Canadian Arctic and to the Inuit. A one-page story at the beginning of the book introduces the readers to the Ijiraq, and explains the purpose of the inuksugaq - information the reader should know but would slow the story. Kusugak's descriptions of the landscape and the wildlife are vivid and beautifully woven into the text. The story is suspenseful without being threatening; the language is simple, easy to read, and smooth." - CM Magazine

Additional Information
32 pages | 8.00" x 8.00"

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Lecteurs forts Collection le nord: Je construis un iglou
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

Dans ce livre tu vas apprendre à construire un iglou.

C’est très important de faire les blocs de la bonne taille et forme.

Les blocs sont des rectangles.

Comment penses-tu que Michael Kusugak appris à construire un iglou ?

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Lecteurs forts Collection le nord: Je construis un iglou 6-Pack
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

Dans ce livre tu vas apprendre à construire un iglou.

C’est très important de faire les blocs de la bonne taille et forme.

Les blocs sont des rectangles.

Comment penses-tu que Michael Kusugak appris à construire un iglou ?

There are 6 copies of Je construis un iglou included in this set.

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$59.70

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Lecteurs forts Collection le nord: La neige
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

Ce livre parle de la neige.

Il y a différents types de neige dans le nord.

Qu’est-ce que tu sais à propos de la neige ?

Qu’est-ce que tu peux faire dans la neige ?

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Lecteurs forts Collection le nord: La neige 6-Pack
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;

Ce livre parle de la neige.

Il y a différents types de neige dans le nord.

Qu’est-ce que tu sais à propos de la neige ?

Qu’est-ce que tu peux faire dans la neige ?

There are 6 copies of La neige included in this set.

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$59.70

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Lecteurs forts Collection le nord: Les bébés animaux de l’Arctique
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;
Ce livre parle des animaux qui habitent l’Arctique.

Observe la couverture de ce livre.
Combien d’animaux vois-tu ?
Tu peux les nommer ?
Authentic Canadian Content
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Lecteurs forts Collection le nord: Les bébés animaux de l’Arctique 6-Pack
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;
Ce livre parle des animaux qui habitent l’Arctique.

Observe la couverture de ce livre.
Combien d’animaux vois-tu ?
Tu peux les nommer ?

There are 6 copies of Les bébés animaux de l’Arctique included in this set.
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Lecteurs forts Collection le nord: Les oiseaux vont et viennent
Format: Paperback
Text Content Territories: Inuit;
Lorsque la neige d’hiver commence à fondre, beaucoup d’oiseaux différents rentrent au nord pour faire leurs nids.
Pendant le court été arctique, les oeufs éclosent. Les poussins grandissent vite. Ils doivent être prêts à voler vers le sud avec leurs parents à l’automne.

Suivez le retour des oiseaux à travers les saisons.
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Viewing 1 - 15 of 40 |

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