Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 3 to 5
- Reading age: 7 to 8
During the short Arctic summers, the tundra, covered most of the year under snow and ice, becomes filled with colourful flowers, mosses, shrubs, and lichens. These hardy little plants transform the northern landscape, as they take advantage of the warmer weather and long hours of sunlight. Caribou, lemmings, snow buntings, and many other wildlife species depend on tundra plants for food and nutrition, but they are not the only ones...
A Walk on the Tundra follows Inuujaq, a little girl who travels with her grandmother onto the tundra. There, Inuujaq learns that these tough little plants are much more important to Inuit than she originally believed.
In addition to an informative storyline that teaches the importance of Arctic plants, this book includes a field guide with photographs and scientific information about a wide array of plants found throughout the Arctic.
About the authors
Rebecca Hainnu lives in Clyde River, Nunavut, with her daughters, Katelyn and Nikita. Rebecca believes it is important to teach Inuit traditional knowledge about the land, animals, people, history, and philosophies. Her family is usually on the land throughout the seasons. She hopes to pass on some knowledge through her writing. Her work includes Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants: An Inuit Elder’s Perspective, The Spirit of the Sea, A Walk on the Shoreline, Math Activities for Nunavut Classrooms, and Classifying Vertebrates. Rebecca is an educator in a K–12 school. She was the recipient of the 2016 NTA Award for Teaching Excellence.
Anna Ziegler is the principal of Arctic Willow Consulting, which specializes in program development and evaluation in community wellness, poverty reduction, and adult learning. She has completed graduate research on practices of archiving Inuit traditional knowledge. After living in Iqaluit, Nunavut, for fourteen years, she now resides in Ottawa, Ontario, and works on projects with groups across Inuit Nunangat. She is also the co-author, with Rebecca Hainnu and Aalasi Joamie, of Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants: An Inuit Elder’s Perspective.
Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China. At the age of five, she moved with her family to Bordeaux, France, where she spent the next four years. Soon after, she moved to Montreal, where she spent the rest of her childhood. Having been born in Asia but raised in the West, she uses both cultures as her source of inspiration. Looking at her illustrations, one can see the presence of both East and West.Qin Leng comes from a family of artists, where the visual senses have always been of the utmost importance. She grew up watching her father work with acrylics, pastel, and ink. Father and daughter often spent their days drawing side by side. Drawing first started as a hobby, but soon became a way of expression.Despite her many years of study to become a biologist, Qin decided at the age of 20 to follow the same path as her father and enrolled in the School of Cinema to study Film Animation at Concordia University. She has produced animated shorts, which were nominated in various nationa
“A Walk on the Tundra is a beautiful celebration of both the beauty of the Arctic landscape, and a celebration of Inuit culture and traditions.”
A Walk on the TundraSeveral years ago, Rebecca Hainnu and Anna Ziegler, along with Aalasi Joamie, co-wrote Walking with Aalasi: An Introduction to Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants. The book drew readers from around the world. Now, the two authors have incorporated some of that knowledge into a rich and charming look at Arctic plants for young people.
Bored with waiting for her friends to wake up, Inuujaq reluctantly agrees to accompany her grandmother Silaaq who is going out to pick traditional plants from the tundra. The trip requires patience — not always Inuujaq’s strong suit — but through it she learns a few things about her grandmother and much about tasty, nourishing and medicinal plants. From qunngulitt (mountain sorrel), also known as “Arctic candy,” to a’aasaaq (Arctic thrift), which can be used to make tea, the little girl discovers lots of new and wonderful tastes and shares memories and knowledge with her grandmother.
Hainnu and Ziegler do an excellent job of telling a good story from Inuujaq’s viewpoint, following her emotions from restlessness to weariness to surprise and delight. The pacing is just right, alternating between the journey itself and the new experiences at each stop. They skilfully incorporate descriptions of the plants, Silaaq’s knowledge and Inuujaq’s responses as she discovers something new or is suddenly reminded of a cosy memory.
Included at the back are scientific descriptions of the plants, photographs and a glossary of Inuktitut words and phrases included in the book (although most of them are understandable from the story). An Inuktitut edition is also available.
Artist Qin Leng gently and warmly depicts the sweep of the tundra, the domestic scenes of the community and the small but hardy plants that Inuujaq and Silaaq discover on a warm Arctic day in the sunshine. Creating her drawings in pencil on paper and digitally colouring them, she captures the purples, greens and other delicate colours of the summer landscape.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2012. Volume 35 No. 1.
A Walk on the TundraAfter spending the day with her grandmother, Inuujaq learns how important the tundra’s colourful flowers, mosses, shrubs and lichens are to the Inuit. This informative story, which teaches the many uses for Arctic plants, also includes a field guide with photographs and scientific information about a wide array of plants found throughout the Arctic ecosystem and a glossary of Inuktitut words and phrases.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.
Other titles by Rebecca Hainnu
Les plantes de l'Arctique
Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants
An Inuit Elder's Perspective
Arctic Plants: An Introduction to Edible and Medicinal Plants of the North
A Walk on the Shoreline
The Spirit of the Sea
Walking with Aalasi
An Introduction to Edible and Medicinal Arctic Plants