October 21, 2019

In My Anaana's Amautik

Written by Nadia Sammurtok
Illustrated by Lenny Lishchenko
Inhabit Media
24 pp.
Ages 3-7
September 2019

Love and security are often found with a person or a place but to find them together in both is extraordinary. In My Anaana's Amautik is about a child finding them both in the pouch at the back of its mother's parka.
From In My Anaana's Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok, illus. by Lenny Lishchenko
In its anaana's amautik, a child travels, sleeps and enjoys the closeness of being with its mother and experiencing its world of land, water and sky from a position of safety and intimacy. They feel the sun and compare it to the warmth of her skin, see the clouds and compare them to being swaddled, and are reminded of summertime flowers with her scent.
In my anaana's amautik, I feel safe. The protection of the hood around me is like my own tiny iglu. I love peeking out from inside my anaana's amautik. (pg. 11)
From In My Anaana's Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok, illus. by Lenny Lishchenko
The child likens everything about being in its anaana's amautik to those familiar attributes of its own Arctic environment: sun, clouds, flowers (like Arctic poppy, blueberry and dock), cottongrass, iglu, ocean, stream. But most importantly it's about home.
In my anaana's amautik, I feel loved. The gentleness of her movements reminds me of her hugs and her love for me. I love my anaana's amautik. (pg. 19)
While the earlier books of Nadia Sammurtok's which I reviewed (The Caterpillar Woman, 2016; Siuluk: The Last Tuniq, 2018) had a distinct ambiance of darkness and legend, In My Anaana's Amautik is all lightness and affection. While still based in the Inuit culture, Nadia Sammurtok's heritage, and the Arctic environment, In My Anaana's Amautik enfolds the readers in the experience familiar to the very young Inuit. It brings us into that amautik to feel the bond of mother and child and of the land.
From In My Anaana's Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok, illus. by Lenny Lishchenko
In a series of double-spread illustrations depicting only a child's head or hand, the only body parts that would ever be exposed from rest in an amautik, Lenny Lishchenko also focuses on the feeling, not the logistics. She makes the sun, or the clouds, the cottongrass or the water, all things with which the child analogizes their amautik experiences, the emphasis. In this way, the child is but a small part of everything but still part of it all.

In My Anaana's Amautik is an experiential picture book filled with the sensory reality of being close and safe and warm and loved. Oh, that every child could feel this.

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