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Young Adult Nonfiction Biography

The Scarf and the Butterfly

A graphic memoir of hope and healing

by (author) Monica Ittusardjuat

illustrated by Coco Apunnguaq Lynge & Scott Plumbe

Arvaaq Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2023
Biography, Cultural Heritage, Social Topics, Canada
Recommended Age
14 to 18
Recommended Grade
9 to 12
Recommended Reading age
14 to 18
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2023
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Dec 2023
    List Price

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“’There’s an opening above me, but it’s far, and I have to stack up rocks to jump up, and it’s almost impossible to get out.’ That’s when I realized that I was stripped of my identity, and there was nothing of my culture left in me. It was like I wasn’t in my body anymore. It was bare and desolate and empty and cold, lifeless in my body. Where was I? Where had I gone?”

In this visceral graphic memoir, Monica Ittusardjuat brings readers with her from residential school classrooms to government apologies on her journey to rediscovering what it means to be Inuk. Born prematurely in an iglu on Baffin Island, Monica attended three residential schools over eleven years. She details her resulting struggles with addiction, mental health, and domestic violence, which haunted her into adulthood.

Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful, Monica’s memoir is a testimony to the lasting impacts of residential schools and one woman’s fight to reclaim what she lost.

The Scarf and the Butterfly is a stunning new addition to Qinuisaarniq ("resiliency"), a collection of books created to educate readers about the history and impacts of residential schools.

About the authors

Monica Ittusardjuat was taken from her parents and sent to residential school at the age of seven, at a time when Inuit lived a subsistence way of life in winter camps and roamed around in spring and summer, following animals when they were plentiful. She went to three residential schools: Chesterfield Inlet, NWT (now Nunavut), for primary school, Churchill, Manitoba, for junior high, and St. Norbert, Manitoba, for high school. Monica graduated from McGill University in 1987. While teaching Community NTEP (Nunavut Teacher Education Program) in Nunavut, she earned her M.Ed. through the University of Prince Edward Island. She was the honour student for Baffin Island. She taught for many years in elementary schools, high schools, and teacher education programs, as well as in the Interpreter/Translator Program at Nunavut Arctic College. Monica tried to retire at the age of 60, but the habit of going to work was hard to break. She was the National Inuit Language Coordinator at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami from 2016 to 2018 and is now Senior Inuktitut Editor at Inhabit Education, which she describes as her dream job.


Monica Ittusardjuat's profile page

Coco Apunnguaq Lynge is a Kalaaleq/Danish illustrator and artist. She was born in Greenland and raised in Denmark, which has made her long for her Greenlandic roots. This longing often expresses itself through her personal work. She is a graduate of The Animation Workshop in Denmark, and has also studied multimedia and fashion design.

Coco Apunnguaq Lynge's profile page

Scott Plumbe has camped inside an ancient Roman amphitheater, trekked around Mount Kailash in Tibet, and walked to the source of the Ganges River in India. He has traveled in manycountries, including Egypt, Syria, Iran, Morocco, and Japan, which gave him rich experiences to draw on while illustrating the stories in Bodyguards!When he’s not painting at his desk in Vancouver, British Columbia, Scott can often be found with his wife and young son in the local Chinese gardens, or sipping tea and planning their next trip.

Scott Plumbe's profile page

Other titles by Monica Ittusardjuat

Other titles by Scott Plumbe