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Inuk author celebrates Arctic in new children’s book

‘We Love You as Much as the Fox Loves its Tail’ is Masiana Kelly’s 3rd children’s book

For her new book, author Masiana Kelly sent photos of her brother’s family to illustrator Tamara Campeau for inspiration. (Photo courtesy of Inhabit Media)

By Jorge Antunes

Updated on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023 at 6:45 p.m.

Inuk children’s author Masiana Kelly wants to show a different side of the Arctic, full of love and wonder, in her new book, We Love You as Much as the Fox Loves its Tail.

“I’ve always loved stories, storytelling has been something that has been passed down in my family,” Kelly said in an interview.

“I always heard stories from my grandmothers and my family members.”

Kelly was born in Kugluktuk and left when she was young. She lives in Fort Smith, N.W.T., now.

The inspiration for her latest book came from her work as a teacher in British Columbia. Usually around Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, she would tell her students how much Inuit “love their families, their grown-ups,” she said.

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“[It’s] a reflection of the love that we [have], especially in Indigenous families. Just the deep love and affection that we have for the children and our families,” Kelly said.

She wanted to translate that exuberance onto the page.

Illustrated by Tamara Campeau, bright oranges, reds and pinks spread across the pages of the book like an Arctic sunset. Lush bright scenes filled with wildflowers, rolling green tundra and Arctic wildlife abound throughout the book.

The central characters are a young family who spend much of their time laughing and dancing as they celebrate the arrival of a new baby. Narwhals, seal, belugas and ravens swirl together in an Arctic Eden. Even the caribou and polar bears seem to laugh.

The words of the story are like a poem or lullaby about love, beauty and appreciation for the many animals that call tundra and the northern sea home.

“I’m really inspired by my own family,” Kelly said. “I have eight brothers.”

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We Love You as Much as the Fox Loves its Tail, published by Inhabit Media, was released in July.

This is her third book. In each one, one or two of her family members make a cameo appearance. For this book, the family in the story is based on her brother’s family.

“He didn’t realize what I done until yesterday. I kept it a surprise,” she said.

“It really is a great representation … of my brother’s family and how they love the land and the animals.”

She hopes readers in the south will be inspired to come and visit the North one day so “they get firsthand experience [and] see what these wonderful places are really like.

“We have to celebrate not only Indigenous history, but Indigenous joy and Indigenous triumphs.”

Correction: This article was updated from an earlier version to correct the community where the author currently lives.

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