On Thin Ice

On Thin Ice

by Jamie Bastedo
     
 

Alberta Children's/Young Adult Book of the Year winner 2007

White Ravens: International Youth Library selection of outstanding books, 2007

ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards Honorable Mention - Young Adult Fiction 2006

Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice, 2007

Ashley Anowiak is in search of a murderous polar bear that may be real or

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Overview

Alberta Children's/Young Adult Book of the Year winner 2007

White Ravens: International Youth Library selection of outstanding books, 2007

ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards Honorable Mention - Young Adult Fiction 2006

Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice, 2007

Ashley Anowiak is in search of a murderous polar bear that may be real or mythical. The only thing for certain is that what she discovers will change her life - and her community's - forever.

In spite of its name, no one in the tiny troubled hamlet of Nanurtalik "the place with polar bears" can remember seeing a polar bear in decades. But when a teenager's dismembered body is discovered on a nearby ice road, everyone fears polar bears have returned. The community is thrown into chaos as another suspected bear attack sparks a flury of bullets that whiz through the town during a blinding four-day blizzard. Was it a real or phantom bear? No one can say for sure.

Ashley Anowiak is swept into this storm of confusion by her special link with polar bears expressed through the magic of her art and the terror of her dreams. She finds herself on the trail of Nanurluk, a giant bear that has haunted her people for thousands of years.

Ashley's bear hunt leads from the frozen catacombs beneath Itkiqtuqjuaq to the jumbled ice fields covering the Arctic Ocean. As she closes in on the bear, Ashley's inner and outer worlds are torn apart, leaving her desperate for any stability she can find.

This is the story of a gifted northern youth struggling to find her true home in a fast-changing arctic, where culture, climate and landscape seem to be crumbling all around her.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In his foreword, Bastedo notes that, although the book's plot is essentially fiction, it is based on several well-documented events in the modern Arctic. It is this blend of fact and fiction, of reality and dream, which makes this such an excellent novel. Bastedo hopes that "this book will transport you to a fast-changing Arctic world where darkness and light, fragility and endurance, co-exist in a perpetual state of creative tension - as revealed in the two faces of Nanurluk, the mysterious, giant bear that haunted Ashley's dreams" (p. 11). There is no question that Bastedo succeeds in this and that his hope is fulfilled.

"Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"This is a book to know about and to put on school and public library shelves. Lives in the north need more representation in our fiction and this book represents an honourable effort."

Resource Links

"Bastedo doesn't ignore social problems in the modern Arctic, but they're peripheral to the main story - Ashley's father is a hard-working broadcaster but her friend Rosie's parents are violent drunks. In the same way, global warming isn't a main character in the book but it is always present, its effects always noticeable. This is being marketed as young adult fiction, but people of all ages can enjoy this book, and learn something from it."

Canadian Press

"I hope that people who read this book will begin to understand the impact of climate change on Inuit culture. Everyone needs to be concerened, not only the Inuit and the polar bears, but the entire global community. We must act soon before it is too late."

Peter Irniq, Inuit Cultural Activist & Former Nunavut Commissioner

"Bastedo's passion for the north leaps off the page. A page-turner . . . Shot-gunned with one nail-biting happening after another, from floods, to monster-storms, to bear attacks, even a jumbo jet hurtling out of the sky . . A fine piece of work from a northern writer."

CBC Radio

"While readers will be intrigued with the mystical elements of the story as they are woven into the realistic daily life of a modern Arctic teen, there are also many undisguised messages about global warming, chaos theory, and man's effect on weather patterns. Human encroachment into animal habitat is illustrated by a few chapters told from the polar bear's viewpoint, as hunter and hunted."

School Library Journal

"A psychological thriller."

Yellowknifer

"This novel is told with richness of language, culture, and emotion, but its sense of place sparkles brightest."

VOYA Book Review

"Takes reality a step further."

News North

"Bastedo has written a novel of haunting power and magic."

Showtime, Sunday Sun (Calgary) TV Magazine

"I devoured its 345 pages in two sittings and would recommend it to any global warming skeptics. . . A clever piece of writing by Bastedo."

The Daily Astorian (Oregon)

"The jury chose an effort in which great ambition is rewarded with great accomplishment. The recipient was well marketed and designed, successfully presenting a strong environmental message in an exciting, action-packed story tailormade for teen readers. The adjudicators commented that this book 'speaks well of Alberta publishing and Canadian YA literature."

Jury for the Alberta Children's Book Of The Year

VOYA - Leslie Carter
Set in the remote Arctic village of Nanurtalik, this novel follows Ashley as she journeys on the shaman path chosen for her through the Inuit line of her father. Disturbed by haunting-sometimes frightening-dreams of a gigantic polar bear that seems bent on destroying her, Ashley furiously draws her dreams onto paper, capturing the very essence of the bear within. The ice fields around Nanurtalik were once populated with the bears, which were hunted by the local natives for their meat and warm skins. The bears have been gone for many years, but signs are showing that they might be returning. Ashley senses that one of the bears is calling to her through her dreams, but she does not know why. As the story unfolds, Ashley slowly learns the importance of her dreams, her heritage, and her destiny. This novel is told with richness of language, culture, and emotion, but its sense of place sparkles brightest. Bastedo painfully describes how the changing world climate is upsetting the delicate, beautiful ecosystem of northern Alaska, and this powerful anomaly of nature grips Nanurtalik in a vise of unpredictability. The characters are fully formed, each with his or her own strengths and frailties. The point of view shifts from Ashley's dreams to her reality to the bear on the ice with ease, and each speaks with an authentic voice. This book will be a welcome introduction to the Inuit world.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Ashley's frightening dreams of a singing and drum-playing bear-man shaman cause her to become obsessed with Nanurluk, the legendary spirit bear of the Inuit people. Then the mangled body of a classmate is found along the ice road outside of the Arctic town of Nanurtalik, and Ashley learns that it has the earmarks of a polar bear attack. Although villagers haven't seen the animals in the area for decades, random sightings and reports by a visiting scientist point to the possibility that climate change is altering their distribution. Artistic Ashley begins drawing images from her dreams and listening closely to her elder Uncle Jonah's songs. Her "adventure meter" ticking, she investigates the mysterious icehouse, explores an ancient spirit trail, and joins her father on a bear hunt. By the end of the book, when Jonah disappears and the scientist finds, near the old man's glasses, a dead polar bear with two hearts, Ashley is convinced of the spiritual connection she and her family have to the shaman. While readers will be intrigued with the mystical elements of the story as they are woven into the realistic daily life of a modern Arctic teen, there are also many undisguised messages about global warming, chaos theory, and man's effect on weather patterns. Human encroachment into animal habitat is illustrated by a few chapters told from the polar bear's viewpoint, as hunter and hunted.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780889953376
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
04/30/2006
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.86(d)
Age Range:
12 - 13 Years

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