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Alexander, Bryan and Cherry Alexander
East Sussex (England), Wayland Publishers, 1992. 48pp, cloth, $18.99
ISBN 0-750Z-0370-6. (Threatened Cultures). Distributed by Nelson Canada. CIP

Subject Headings:
Inuit-Juvenile literature.
Inuit-Social life and customs-Juvenile literature.

Grades 6-10 / Ages 11-15

Reviewed by Patricia Fry

Volume 22 Number 4
1994 September

Inuit focuses on the history, culture, and daily life of the people of the north and assesses their chance of survival. It is very Canadian in focus and very informative. In fact, after reading this book, I intend to examine other titles in this series.

The material is well organized and carefully indexed. The introductory section begins with a map showing the areas in which the Inuit live. There are separate sections on the current Inuit way of life, on the influence of white culture on the history of these people, and on the significance of the Nunavut land claim.

The authors do not hesitate to examine the situation facing the Inuit today, especially the environmental impact that the pollution from the southern way of life has on the Arctic: "The Arctic sits at the centre of a deadly whirlpool of poisons discarded by the rest of the world, both waterborne and airborne." As a result, if this pollution continues, within ten years polar bears will exceed the limit classifying them as toxic waste. Such forthrightness is sure to make the average student think about the interconnectedness of all life.

There is a glossary of English and Inuktitut words as well as recommended further reading and a list of sources for additional information. The text is extremely well illustrated with approximately fifty colour photographs. Side bars of information are set off on such related subjects as the aurora borealis, Inuit languages and Inuit media.

Bryan and Cherry Alexander are photographers and writers who specialize in the arctic environment. Their work has been published internationally and they spend several months of each year in the Arctic.

One student commented on the attractiveness of the book. Instead of a paper cover, the design is imprinted into the book itself. The front cover features a photograph of an Inuit man, and the back cover has a small photograph of the authors. Both pictures are set against a sketch of the northern lands decorated with Inuit carvings and symbols.

Highly recommended.

Patricia Fry is a teacher-librarian at Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario

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