On Thin Ice

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 ...

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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 landscapeseem to be crumbling all around her.

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Editorial Reviews

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: Ingram Pub Services
  • Publication date: 4/30/2006
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,312,839
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jamie Bastedo, former CBC North host and author of Shield Country: The Life and Times of the Oldest Piece of the Planet, Reaching North: A Celebration of the Subarctic and Blue Lake and Rocky Shores, reflects on the charm and mystery of the Canadian Shield. He writes to inform and to inspire, telling a "story of place." He lives in Yellowknife, NWT and operates a touring company that takes tourists on tours of the North and also runs an environmental consulting company.

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