cover image Inuunira: My Story of Survival

Inuunira: My Story of Survival

Brian Koonoo, illus. by Ben Shannon. Inhabit Media, $18.95 (38p) ISBN 978-1-77-227430-1

Inuit Koonoo, from Pond Inlet in Nunavut, Canada, recounts a lifetime of hunting expeditions in this visceral autobiographical telling. When he was three, he shot his first caribou. Though his father says, “you’ll have to eat it, it’s your catch,” Koonoo, proud of his work, decides he’d rather keep it than eat it. The next day, he learns his father has given the caribou to his grandfather, imparting a valuable lesson on Native hunting principles: always give thanks for the animal’s sacrifice, and only kill what one will use. This pivotal childhood experience resonates into adulthood, during which Koonoo uses his skills to provide for his family. Amid a caribou shortage in May 2015, he travels to Canada’s Arctic to hunt, but a broken-down vehicle, missing radio, and dwindling camp fuel jeopardize the expedition. The trip is further complicated by an incoming blizzard, but Koonoo survives using the knowledge he gained from hunting with his father in his youth. Abundant photographs and Shannon’s meticulously detailed illustrations—a half-page spread renders a step-by-step iglu-building method—accompany immersive text. Koonoo artfully crafts an adventurous read that is equal parts appreciation for nature and Indigenous culture, and thrilling survival story. An Inuktut glossary concludes. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)