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 is the assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University and has a PhD in literary and cultural studies, with a specialization in contemporary postcolonial literature from Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

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