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Young Adult Nonfiction Adventure & Adventurers

Inuunira: My Story of Survival

by (author) Brian Koonoo

illustrated by Ben Shannon

Inhabit Media
Initial publish date
Jun 2022
Adventure & Adventurers, Aboriginal & Indigenous, General, Camping & Outdoor Activities
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12 to 18
  • Grade: 7 to 12
  • Reading age: 12 to 18


Kirkus Best Teen & YA Nonfiction of 2022

"An unforgettable physical and emotional journey." —★ Kirkus, STARRED review

In this harrowing survival story, Brian Koonoo takes off on a hunting trip in Canada’s Arctic. After his snowmobile breaks down, his GPS loses signal, and his camping fuel runs low, he is left alone to survive for seven days. Inuunira is an Inuktitut term that means "how I'm alive," and this account shows exactly how Brian managed to stay alive. He experiences close encounters with planes, blizzards, and hunger, all while much of his gear is lost. Walking 60 kilometres in search of safety, he uses the knowledge his father and Elders taught him—modern and traditional means of navigation, finding water, making shelters, and keeping his spirits up—to continue on. With photos, illustrations, and diagrams throughout, readers are sure to be inspired by this story of strong will and hope.

About the authors

Brian Koonoo was born and grew up in Pond Inlet. He is married to Samantha Koonoo, originally from Rankin Inlet. They have six daughters at home, Chantal, Janelle, Josephina, Shanelle, Alina and Alaira. Chantal and her partner Curtis have a son named Rogan, who is Brian and Samantha’s first grandson and first boy in the family. Brian currently works with Parks Canada as a resource management officer. Brian continues to hunt and provides country food for his family, relatives, and community.


Brian Koonoo's profile page

Ben Shannon's profile page


  • Winner, Multicultural – Juv-Young Adult IPPY
  • Commended, Best Teen & YA Nonfiction of 2022

Editorial Reviews

"An unforgettable physical and emotional journey." —★ Kirkus, STARRED review

"Koonoo artfully crafts an adventurous read that is equal parts appreciation for nature and Indigenous culture, and thrilling survival story."—Publishers Weekly

"One strength of this narrative is the author’s emphasis on the traditional knowledge that enabled him to survive his ordeal when his modern conveniences (radio phone, snowmobile, sleeping bag) failed him."—Booklist

"This true survival story showcases two powerful themes: man against nature, and traditional versus modern...Drawings, photos, and other illustrations significantly add understanding to the descriptions of the instruments and tools used by the author...This title will have particular significance for Canadians, those interested in Inuit culture, and survival enthusiasts."—School Library Connection


"Koonoo’s story of survival will engage children of many ages...The story is well worth the read and can teach a great deal about the incredible knowledge and culture of Koonoo’s people and their life-saving traditions. Highly Recommended."—CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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