Review of In My Anaana's Amautik

In My Anaana’s Amautik
by Nadia Sammurtok; illus. by Lenny Lishchenko
Preschool    Inhabit Media    24 pp.
4/20    978-1-77227-252-9    $16.95

A baby’s perspective of being held in its anaana’s (mother’s) amautik (“the pouch in the back of a woman’s parka where a baby can be carried”) is explored in lulling, sensory-rich text and illustrations. Each spread begins with a feeling (“In my anaana’s amautik, I feel warm”), followed by a lyrical comparison (“The warmth of her skin feels like sunshine”), then ending with a message of love (“I love being in my anaana’s amautik”). The physical closeness of parent and child is reinforced in the warmhearted illustrations; it’s because mother and baby are so close that we only see the top of baby’s head, a small hand reaching out from the amautik, and an extreme close-up of anaana’s face as she gives her child a kiss. Soft, soothing blues and whites form the backdrop of the illustrations, with bright pops of color, such as buttery-yellow sunshine, and textured bursts of flowers and fuzzy dandelion heads, reflecting the text’s details and mood. This gentle story elevates the feelings of comfort and security that the amautik enables. A brief glossary (with pronunciation) of Inuktitut words is included, along with a website link to further resources.

From the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Hakim Azzam
Julie Hakim Azzam
Julie Hakim Azzam teaches in the English department at the University of Pittsburgh. While her academic specialization is on literature from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, she has a passion for children’s literature and has been interviewing children’s authors for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for many years.

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