For this first Native KIDS Reads post I thought it would only make sense to share the first Indigenous childrens book I purchased for Ogichida which is also my favourite book to read to him at bedtime, Sweetest Kulu.
I purchased this book from an online store called Kenniwa:a. The founder and current creative director for Kenniwa:aSydney Jacobs is from Awkwesanse, a Mohawk reserve in Quebec, Ontario Canada. I first discovered her story through her account on instagram @kenniwaa. As soon as I saw this book in her online store, I knew immediately that I wanted to buy it for my son. Upon finding this book, I also found a beautiful print of a drawing of an Indigenous baby in a cradle board. So I purchased both the book and the print. I received my order sooner than expected and was surprised to see that Sydney has sent a handwritten thank you note along with three beautiful stickers along with the book and print. Below is a picture of everything mentioned above.
Sweetest Kulu has to be the most beautifully illustrated childrens book I’ve personally ever seen. Each page is so detailed and full of colour, and the animals a drawn ever so perfectly. The story is something I truly love reading to my son. Without giving too much away, its the mother of the baby telling him about all the animals of the arctic coming to greet him on the day he was born, and all the offerings and gifts they gave to him. The story ends with the mother saying:
‘Dream a little Kulu, this world now sings a most beautiful song of you.
Slumber in Safety.
Tomorrow will wait patiently.
Be calm, Kulu, and celebrate, because you are true love.’
The author of this beautiful bedtime children’s book is Celina Kalluk, an acclaimed Inuit throat singer. She was born and raised in Resolute Bay in Nunavut. She has 5 daughters and is also the Inuktitut Language Specialist and Cultural Arts teacher for grades seven through twelve at Qarmartalik School in Resolute Bay.
“Kulu is an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children.”
The illustrator is Alexandria Neonakis from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. She currently works full time as a concept artist at the game development company, Naughty Dog. She also does freelance children’s books.
To purchase Sweetest Kulu, click the link below://rcm-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=atribecalledb-20&language=en_CA&o=15&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=as_ss_li_til&asins=1927095778&linkId=33dcd6734d888fe03331861fab078f24