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Children’s Books about Inuit Culture in Canada

Inuit authors have brought the richness and diversity of Inuit culture into the public eye with several enchanting and powerful books. From oral histories to Arctic animals to supernatural creatures, the books on this list explore various elements of the Inuit culture and way of life. Titles listed are recommended for a range of age groups, from toddlers to preteens. These books support efforts to encourage literacy, preserve and promote culture, and educate others about Inuit and Indigenous peoples and history.

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Reg Schwager

Reginald Cornelis Egbert Schwager, CM, jazz guitarist, composer (born 7 May 1962 in Leiden, Netherlands). Reg Schwager is one of Canada’s most acclaimed jazz guitarists. Over the course of his 40-year career, he has played with such notable musicians as Peter Appleyard, Diana Krall, Mel Tormé, Chet Baker, Rob McConnell and Oliver Jones. Schwager was named Guitarist of the Year at the National Jazz Awards four years in a row (2005–08) and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2021.

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Charles Edenshaw (Tahayren)

​Charles (Charlie) Edenshaw (Haida name, Tahayren), Haida chief and master artist (born 1839 in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, BC; died 10 September 1920 in Masset, Haida Gwaii, BC). Edenshaw was among the first professional Haida artists. He was noted for his flawless execution of dynamic flowing forms in an otherwise strict and disciplined art tradition. Many of Edenshaw’s descendants also became artists, including his daughter Florence Davidson, his grandson Claude Davidson, his great-grandsons Reggie and Robert Davidson and his great-great nephew Bill Reid.

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Joane Cardinal-Schubert

Joane Cardinal-Schubert, RCA, artist (born 1942 in Red Deer, AB; died 16 September 2009 in Calgary, AB). Award-winning Kainaiwa (Blood) artist Joane Cardinal-Schubert was also a successful and influential curator, lecturer, poet and director of video and Indigenous theatre. Her artworks and writing often addressed contemporary political issues such as Indigenous sovereignty, cultural appropriation and environmental concerns. She supported other Indigenous artists as a curator and activist, while also questioning methods of displaying historical and contemporary Indigenous artworks. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal, the Commemorative Medal of Canada and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in Art.

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David Suzuki

David Takayoshi Suzuki, CC, OBC, geneticist, broadcaster, environmental activist (born 24 March 1936 in Vancouver, BC). A Japanese Canadian, David Suzuki was interned with his family during the Second World War. He later became one of Canada’s most popular scientists and media personalities. He is best known as the host (1979–2023) of the longest-running science show on television, CBC’s The Nature of Things, and for his work as an environmental activist. He has received ACTRA’s John Drainie Award for broadcasting excellence and the Canadian Screen Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award. A Companion of the Order of Canada, he has also received the Order of British Columbia and been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

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Rodney Graham

William Rodney Graham, OC, artist (born 16 January 1949 in Abbotsford, BC; died 22 October 2022). Rodney Graham was known for his conceptual sculptures, text-works, photography and films. Described by the Georgia Straight as “one of Canada’s greatest multi-discipline art stars,” he is often associated with the Vancouver School of artists, which includes Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace, Ken Lum, Stan Douglas and Roy Arden. Graham was especially notable for the ways in which he incorporated various technologies — and the history of technology — into his artworks, much of which deals with the conflict between nature and culture in a resource-extraction economy. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2016.

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Christi Belcourt

Christi Belcourt, Métis visual artist, activist, author (born 24 September 1966, in Scarborough, ON). Though born in Ontario, Belcourt is from the Métis community manitow sâkahikan (Lac Ste Anne), Alberta. The vibrant colours and themes of her art reflect the interconnectedness of nature and human beings. Her art speaks to the struggle for Indigenous identity and sovereignty. Belcourt’s activism focuses on Indigenous issues related to justice, education and meaningful reconciliation. ( See also Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada and Important Indigenous Artists in Canada.)

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John Grierson

John Grierson, film producer (born 26 April 1898 in Deanston, Scotland; died 19 February 1972 in Bath, England). His ancestors were lighthouse keepers and his father was a school teacher. He served as an ordinary seaman in the First World War and completed a brilliant academic career after the war, graduating with distinction in moral philosophy.

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Shania Twain

Shania Twain (born Eilleen Regina Edwards), aka Eilleen Twain, OC, singer, songwriter, guitarist, (born 28 August 1965 in Windsor, ON). Nicknamed the “Queen of Country Pop,” Shania Twain rose from rags to riches to become the biggest-selling female country artist of all time. Buoyed by sassy lyrics, a sexy image and slick production values, her smash hit recordings from 1995 to 2004 defied country music conventions, breaking numerous sales records and establishing her as an international superstar. She is the only female artist to have three consecutive albums sell more than 10 million copies in the United States. Her third album, Come On Over (1997), is the best-selling country album of all time, the biggest-selling album of the 1990s and the sixth biggest-selling in US history. An Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, she was the first non-American to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music Awards. She has won nearly 200 major international awards, including multiple Juno, Grammy, SOCAN and Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards.

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Barbara Paterson

Barbara A. Paterson, CM, sculptor (born in Edmonton, AB). Barbara Paterson is a sculptor who works with wax, stone, bronze and steel. Her works often depict women and historical figures. She is perhaps best known for Women are Persons!, a bronze monument to the Persons Case that depicts the Famous Five. There are two copies of the monument, one located on Parliament Hill and the other in Calgary’s Olympic Plaza. Paterson was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2021.

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Ken Scott

Ken Scott, writer, director, actor (born 1970). Ken Scott worked as a comedian and actor before writing several of the most accessible and appealing French Canadian films of the early 21st century. His intricately written commercial comedies La grande séduction (Seducing Doctor Lewis, 2003) and Starbuck (2011), which he directed, topped the Canadian box office in their respective years and have been remade in different languages around the world — a testament to their universal appeal.

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Blanche Lemco van Ginkel

Blanche van Ginkel, née Lemco (born 14 December 1923 in London, England; died 20 October 2022 in Toronto, ON). Blanche Lemco van Ginkel was an architect and planner with van Ginkel Associates, in partnership with her husband, H.P. Daniel van Ginkel. Established in 1957, the firm was well known for its modernist design projects. Lemco van Ginkel was the first woman elected as an officer and as a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and the first woman (and first Canadian) to serve as president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. She was also dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Toronto.

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Fred Herzog

Ulrich “Fred” Herzog, photographer, teacher (born 21 September 1930 in Bad Friedrichshall, Germany; died 9 September 2019 in Vancouver, BC). Fred Herzog was a professional medical photographer and a photography instructor at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. He is best known for his colour photographs of Vancouver street scenes, which documented working-class neighbourhoods and the downtown before they were transformed. His use of colour film was unusual for a fine arts photographer, and his work was largely overlooked for years. His first solo show — at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007, when he was 76 — received widespread acclaim.

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Ryan Gosling

Ryan Thomas Gosling, actor, musician, producer, director (born 12 November 1980 in London, ON). Ryan Gosling started out as a child actor before giving a breakthrough performance in the Sundance-winning indie drama The Believer in 2001. He has since created, in the words of the New York Times’ Dennis Lim, “a whole gallery of sensitive, intelligent, anguished young men, often with hipster tendencies or dark sides.” An A-list Hollywood star, he has proven equally adept at comedy ( Lars and the Real Girl, Crazy, Stupid, Love., The Nice Guys, The Big Short), drama ­(The Notebook, Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, The Ides of March, First Man) and science fiction (Blade Runner 2049). He has received two Oscar nominations and won a Golden Globe in 2017 for his lead role in the musical La La Land.

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Jack Diamond

Abel Joseph (Jack) Diamond, OC, OOnt, architect (born 8 November 1932 in Piet Retief, South Africa; died 30 October 2022). An Officer of the Order of Canada and multiple winner of the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture, Jack Diamond was one of the most significant and successful Canadian architects of his generation (see Architecture). He was made a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 1980 and in 1994 was made an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

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Douglas Kirkland

Douglas Morely Kirkland, photographer (born 16 August 1934 in Toronto, ON; died 2 October 2022 in Los Angeles, California). Photographer Douglas Kirkland was best known for his highly stylized and artistic portraits of Hollywood celebrities. His best-known work was a series of photographs he took of Marilyn Monroe in 1961. He was also well known for his behind-the-scenes photographs from many film productions. The first still photographer to be made a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Kirkland authored several books and received numerous awards.

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Robert England

Robert England, teacher, railway administrator, civil servant (born 15 September 1894 in Portadown, Northern Ireland; died 14 June 1985 in Victoria, BC). England had a varied education and an even more varied career. However, his contributions to Canadian society were primarily in the fields of rural education, immigration and cultural pluralism, veterans’ rehabilitation and citizenship.

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Angela Sidney (Stóow Ch’óonehte’ Máa)

Angela Sidney (née Johns), (Stóow Ch’óonehte’ Máa), CM, Elder, storyteller, author (born 4 January 1902 near Carcross, YT; died 17 July 1991 in Whitehorse, YT). Of Tagish and Tlingit descent, Sidney was one of the last fluent speakers of the Tagish language. A storyteller, Sidney recorded and preserved the stories, traditions, languages, place names and genealogies of her people. She was the first Indigenous woman from Yukon to be appointed to the Order of Canada.