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Children's Nonfiction Customs, Traditions, Anthropology

The Inuksuk Book

illustrated by Mary Wallace

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2004
Customs, Traditions, Anthropology, Rocks & Minerals
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 6
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2004
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


An inuksuk is a stone structure that can communicate knowledge essential for survival to an Arctic traveler. Inuksuit are found throughout the Arctic areas of Alaska, Arctic Canada, and Greenland. Mary Wallace, in consultation with Inuit elders and other noted experts, gives a fascinating introduction in words, pictures, and paintings to the many forms of the inuksuk structure and its unique place in Inuit life and culture. Inuksuit take on many forms, the most recognized being the inunnguaq (’like a person’), which is built in the shape of a human. Mary Wallace explains ten of the major types of inuksuit, while archival photographs and exquisite silk paintings bring these shapes to life. In telling the story of inuksuit, the story of those who dwell in the Arctic unfolds. A guide to Inuktitut words rounds out this comprehensive guide to the inuksuk.

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


  • Short-listed, British Columbia Library Association, Red Cedar Book Award
  • Short-listed, Alberta Children's Choice Awards, Rocky Mountain Book Award
  • Short-listed, Atlantic Library Association, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
  • Winner, UNESCO International Youth Library, White Raven Award
  • Short-listed, Ontario Library Association, Silver Birch Award
  • Winner, Idaho State University, National Outdoor Book Award, Children's Category
  • Commended, VOYA, Non-fiction Honor List
  • Short-listed, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-fiction
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice Selection

Editorial Reviews

An exceptional resource for study of the Arctic and Alaska.


From a stark and barren landscape comes a rich and vibrant informational book about the Inuit people. This book is a valuable resource, which will inform and inspire children of all ages.

ForeWord Magazine

The Inuksuk Book is an invitation to enter and explore the traditions of the Inuit of Nunavut.

Toronto Star

Amazing photographs and paintings enhance the informative text.

Voice of Youth Advocates

Anyone looking for a better understanding of the history and culture of the people of Nunavut territory...would do well to traverse the arctic landscape with this primer.

Canadian Press

Gorgeous silk paintings illustrate each kind of inuksuk…

Travel for Kids

The Inuksuk Book is a…fascinating description of various inuksuit…and the roles these stone landmarks have played for centuries.

Quill & Quire

Children love to build inuksuit and this book should inspire a great deal of interest in Inuit culture.

Resource Links, Canadian Library Association

Librarian Reviews

The Inuksuk Book

This book is a complete reference on inuksuit (plural of inuksuk). Norman Hallendy, an authority on the Inuit and the Arctic, says that an old inuksuk is more than a stack of stones; it is thoughts of another person left upon the land. The book not only tells about the different kinds of inuksuit, but gives many facts about the Inuit way of life. Inuksuk are used to point to the location of a food cache, to point to the North Star, to help hunt caribou and respect a much-loved person. Each chapter is prefaced with a painting depicting inuksuit. There are also historical and modern photographs. Some brief instruction is given to building an inuksuk and an inunnguaq, the human-shaped structure.

Wallace is a writer, teacher and artist. This book has been short-listed and won numerous awards.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.

Other titles by Mary Wallace