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Children's Nonfiction Customs, Traditions, Anthropology

An Inuksuk Means Welcome

by (author) Mary Wallace

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Nov 2015
Customs, Traditions, Anthropology, Polar Regions, General, Alphabet
Recommended Age
3 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2015
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


An inuksuk is a stone landmark that different peoples of the Arctic region build to leave a symbolic message. Inuksuit (the plural of inuksuk) can point the way, express joy, or simply say: welcome. A central image in Inuit culture, the inuksuk frames this picture book as an acrostic: readers will learn seven words from the Inuktitut language whose first letters together spell INUKSUK. Each word is presented in English and in Inuktitut characters, with phonetic pronunciation guides provided.

The words and their definitions give a sense of the traditions and customs of Inuit life in the Arctic: nanuq is the powerful polar bear of the north; kamik is a warm seal- and caribou-skin boot; and siku is sea ice. Stunning paintings with deep color and rich texture evoke a powerful sense of place and show great respect for the Acrtic’s indigenous people.

Extra informational text features include an introductory note about the significance of inuksuit in Inuit culture and a nonfiction page that profiles seven different types of inuksuit.


About the author

Mary Wallace is an award-winning artist and art therapist who spent almost twenty years teaching arts and crafts at the Haliburton School of Fine Arts. Her previous title The Inuksuk Book won the 2000 UNESCO International Youth Library White Raven Award, the 1999 National Outdoor Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award, the Norma Fleck Award for Non-Fiction, and the Atlantic Library Association’s Hackmatack Book Award. She lives in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Mary Wallace's profile page


  • Unknown, OLA Best Bet Honourbale Mention

Editorial Reviews

"Beautiful presentation...invites you, almost entices you, to learn more."

Librarian's Quest

"Wallace's richly coloured paintings bring both the northern landscape and Inuit culture vividly to life, highlighting the interdependence of the people and the land, and the importance of close family ties."


"This book is a fun and aesthetically striking way to teach children about a new language and culture, and could be a useful tool for early primary school social studies classes."

Green Teacher

"Adds interest and understanding to an important part of Canada's history and culture."

Resource Links

"The presence of a close-knit Inuit family...brings a loving warmth to the Arctic landscape Wallace so affectionately portrays."

Publisher's Weekly

""An Inuksuk Means Welcome" is a multi-sensory tour through life in the Arctic for thousands of years, beautifully presented for children of all ages."

The Midwest Book Review's Children's Bookwatch

"Rich with colour and movement."

Canadian Review of Materials

"A strong addition for libraries looking to expand cultural collections with ease."

School Library Journal

"A solid compliment to social studies lessons about traditional Inuit customs and the languages of Canada."

National Reading Campaign

Librarian Reviews

An Inukshuk Means Welcome

An acrostic introduction to life in the Arctic by Mary Wallace, a teacher and artist who has worked among Canada's northern communities and has a deep respect for the landscape and people.

Important features of this book include the acrostic nature of presenting information (e.g. I is for Inukshuk); pronunciation keys (e.g. ee-nuck-shuck); and Innuktitut language translations. An Inukshuk means “w”elcome is a strong example of dual language text, particularly suitable for English as Second Language learners. The visuals introduce readers to a way of the people, animals, and the environment of the Arctic. Librarians and teachers can use this book to teach a project in which students make their own inukshuks.

Also available: Make Your Own Inuksuk by Mary Wallace

Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Top Grade Selection 2016.

Other titles by Mary Wallace