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Children's Fiction Halloween

When Pumpkins Fly

illustrated by Margaret Lawrence & Amiel Sandland

Inhabit Media
Initial publish date
Sep 2020
Halloween, Polar Regions, Diversity & Multicultural, Fantasy & Magic
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2020
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 3
  • Reading age: 6 to 8


The air is cold, the nights are long, and Halloween is just around the corner. This is the time of year when pumpkins fly!

In the remote, fly-in community of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, the last cargo flight of October brings some strange orange guests for the children. Seeing a pumpkin for the first time, the local kids eagerly carve and light their first jack-o-lantern.

But when everyone adjourns to the community hall for the Halloween dance, the pumpkin is left alone outside. The land around Sanikiluaq is home to many spirits who love to cause mischief, especially this time of year. But what would a land spirit do with a pumpkin? This adorable book gives young readers a window into how Halloween is celebrated in an Arctic Inuit community, incorporating contemporary celebrations and Inuit folklore.

About the authors

Margaret Lawrence is an educator and artist. She was born in Japan and moved to the Canadian Arctic in 1980, first to Frobisher Bay (now Iqaluit) and then to Sanikiluaq in 1988, where she began teaching. She has spent more than half her life in the Canadian Arctic, seeing much change in the community over that time period. She has been fortunate to learn from four generations of Qikiqtarmiut, the people of the community she calls home.

Margaret Lawrence's profile page

Amiel Sandland is an illustrator living in the Toronto area. He studied illustration at Seneca College, eventually specializing in comic arts and character design. He has also dabbled in layout, comics, and props making. Rarely found without a pen in hand, he enjoys drawing animals, monsters, and plants.

Amiel Sandland's profile page


  • Winner, Holiday/Notable Days Category—Northern Lights Book Award

Editorial Reviews

"This brief, upbeat Canadian import sets a familiar holiday against a cultural backdrop that rarely sees such fare in books. Young readers south of the Arctic will enjoy seeing how the holiday plays out in the far north, where pumpkins do not grow; those for whom Arctic Halloweens are commonplace will appreciate a story that includes their own customs in the celebration... Far from your everyday Halloween tale."—Kirkus

"This simple account of how Halloween has been imported (or exported) into the Inuit community in Nunavut should give readers pause to wonder and ask questions about the manner and tenacity of other traditions. When Pumpkins Fly should be given its place on the shelf of books about celebrations."—Booklist

"Brightly colored cartoony illustrations capture a snow-covered setting and close-knit community. Back matter provides notes on Inuktitut pronunciations."—Horn Book Magazine

"[A] highly descriptive story with an original setting which deftly works in references to the lifestyle of the far north...The contents of When Pumpkins Fly will be a delightful experience for northern children who do not often see their communities depicted in books for young readers, and it will provide an introduction for southerners to a different way of life...When Pumpkins Fly gives libraries and classrooms something new and unusual for the primary Halloween bookshelf."— CM Magazine

Other titles by Margaret Lawrence

Other titles by Amiel Sandland

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