‘The Little Nunavik Airplane’ takes off in Kuujjuaq
Author Isabelle Larouche uses Johnny May’s plane to show what Nunavik is to whole country
The Little Nunavik Airplane has launched.
Children’s author Isabelle Larouche read the book in French, English and Inuktitut, with help from a translator, to daycare children at its launch Aug. 17 in Kuujjuaq.
Larouche said that through the story, she wants to show children all around Canada what Nunavik is.
To do that, she takes young readers inside legendary pilot Johnny May’s De Havilland Beaver plane. From there, they go on a journey across all 14 Nunavik communities, stopping at each one to learn their unique natural features.
“My editor and I started talking,” Larouche said in an interview at the launch.
“We told ourselves, Nunavik is such a beautiful place, we must do something so that the rest of the world can discover this place.”
Larouche said her deep love for the region started in 1992 when she was a teacher in Kangiqsualujjuaq. Then in 2011, she toured all 14 villages with Kativik llisarniliriniq, the Nunavik school board, as an author and storyteller.
From that trip, a seed was planted in her mind and the idea for a book was sparked.
With the help of illustrator Isabelle Charbonneau, as well as translators Nancy Etok and Thomassie Mangiok, The Little Nunavik Airplane came to life.
“It’s a book for reconciliation, a book made from teamwork, openness, a listening ear and common love for Nunavik,” Larouche said.
The book itself took nearly three years to come together and went through more than 20 different versions before everyone felt happy with the final product.
“It was important for us to launch the book in Nunavik first, because the book comes from here,” Larouche said.
“There is enormous work that needs to be done to promote knowledge about Inuit.”
Larouche, who teaches part-time now and lives near Montreal, has written about other Indigenous communities in her previous books.
Published by Grand Élan, the book is set to be distributed in libraries across Canada.