I Am Loved
I Am Loved
Sometimes I feel alone.
Then I remember a secret that my anaanattiaq, my grandmother, told me once.
I haven’t seen her in a whole year and I miss her a lot.
But I can still hear her whispering into my ear.
Do you want to hear the secret?
Okay. Come close, and I’ll whisper it into your ear ...
Naglingniq qaikautigijunnaqtuq maannakautigi!
Love can travel anywhere in an instant!
I Am Loved is told from the first-person perspective of a little Inuit boy named Pakak. Pakak is living with his new foster family where everything looks, feels, and smells different. He has fun during the day, but, when night comes, his heart is filled with sadness, loneliness, and the sorrow of missing his anaana, his mom. Pakak manages to find courage in his dear memories of his anaanattiaq, his grandmother, and the secret message she shared with him about the love of family and nature. Even when they cannot see each other, Pakak knows that their love is all around him and their hearts are close together. Adding to the text’s gentle sorrow are Hwei Lim’s illustrations in different shades of blue which render the story with a layer of sadness and hope.
Readers can tell from the heart-warming story that the authors write from the bottom of their hearts. And indeed, Kevin and Mary Qamaniq-Mason are, themselves, foster parents to Inuit children. The touching content of I Am Loved delivers on the authors’ intent of showing the struggles and emotional longings of Inuit children in foster care. The authors do this in addition to sharing the family values and ways of knowing and living in Inuit culture. A glossary of Inuktitut terms, pronunciations, and meanings are attached at the end of the book for interested readers to better understand the story and acquire additional Inuktitut-language resources.
However, as informative and thought-provoking as it is, the story in I Am Loved demonstrates an adult’s perspective rather than a child’s. The story would be even more authentic and genuine if the words showed, rather than told, through a child’s innocent eyes.
Emma Chen is a doctoral student in Education at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her research areas include family literacy, parent engagement, and immigrant children’s heritage language education.