Mikissuk’s Secret

Reviewed: May 29, 2008
By: written by Isabelle Lafonta / illustrated by Barroux
Publisher: Scholastic Canada
40 pages, $6.99

Mikissuk and her brother, Sorqaq, have always been close, but Sorqaq is quite a bit older than she is and has begun to take on the responsibilities of a hunter and provider. As he becomes deeply involved in the making of his sled and then leaves to go hunting, Mikissuk is heartbroken She wants to go with him but he says she is too little.

Angered, Mikissuk determines to find a way to prove that she is no weakling even if she is a child. She comes up with a project of her own, one that turns the tables on her brother, for it takes up all her time even when he is at home. And in the end she proves to him that she too can be strong.

It’s interesting that this book should have been produced by two French creators. Lafonta’s books often deal with origin stories, which was the subject of her thesis work. Barroux, who grew up in north Africa, studied in France, lived in Montreal and now lives in France, has used a style of art which resembles Inuit carving.

Mikissuk’s Secret concludes with six pages of facts about Nunavut, perhaps a reflection of the academic interest that led to the creation of this story.