Simon enjoys school, TV, pizza, and video games. So when his grandmother tells legends of the sea goddess, Sedna, and his grandfather invites him to build an igloo, Simon's heart sinks.
"Sorry Ananaksaq, my show is on. Sorry, Ataatga, maybe another time," he responds.
Secretly he thinks his grandparents are stuck in their old ways. Secretly his grandparents hide their disappointment and wait for "another time."
Soon enough, that other times comes. When he and his grandparents prepare to visit relatives in Igloolik, Simon thinks it is ridiculous to heap oil lamps, extra fuel, tools, food, snowshoes, and caribou skins onto their sled. But when a blizzard closes in, and the snowmobile breaks down, Simon begins to understand the value of traditional ways.
As the storm rages, they manage to stay snug and fed thanks to the igloo Ataatga builds and the supplies Ananaksaq has provided. When the weather clears, Ataatga snowshoes off in search of help, and that is when Simon learns the true value of Ananaksaq's stories. Afraid, and with nothing to distract him from their situation, Simon listens to tales of flying polar bears and crows bringing light to the North. When his grandmother's voice falters, Simon even discovers he is a good storyteller too.
Finally, the hum of engines signals rescue. The family is reunited and makes it safely to Igloolik. But that night, Simon has a special request. "Ataatga, I would like to learn more about the old ways. Tomorrow will you show me how to build an igloo?"
Carefully researched and beautifully illustrated, The Old Ways brings the sparkle of sun on fresh snow to the traditional wisdom of the elders.