Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things.One afternoo
Susan and her sister, Rebecca, love watching their mother write letters to people in other camps. Their mother has one precious pencil, and she keeps it safe in her box for special things.
One afternoon, their mother leaves the iglu to help a neighbour, and Susan, Rebecca, and their brother Peter are left with their father. They play all their regular games but are soon out of things to do — until their father brings out the pencil! As Susan draws and draws, the pencil grows shorter and shorter. What will their mother think when she comes home?
Based on author Susan Avingaq’s childhood memories of growing up in an iglu, this charming story introduces young readers to the idea of using things wisely.
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was born on the land and moved to the community of Igloolik, Nunavut, in the mid-1970s. She loves to go camping and fishing whenever she can and often brings new people along to teach them these land skills. She enjoys sewing and teaching younger people important cultural practices. She is an extremely resourceful person and thinks that this is an important quality to pass on to the younger generation. She has many grandchildren, whom she likes to share her stories with.
is a teacher and educational writer. She loves to spend as much time on the land as she can, hiking, fishing, paddling, and dogsledding. She has lived and worked in Nunavut for over a decade.
worked as a web designer, senior graphic designer, web producer, and interactive project manager before she decided to pursue illustration as a career. Her work has appeared in American Illustration, Spectrum, and SILA’s Illustration West, as well as several art books. She illustrated the children’s picture books Julie Black Belt: The Kung Fu Chronicles and Julie Black Belt: The Belt of Fire. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with her husband and two cats.
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"The Pencil is an incredible look into a life not many people get to see or experience. While the setting of the igloo and the Inuit customs set the story0020apart and elevate it to something unique, the experience of children being bored, eager to explore their surroundings and especially the things that are "forbidden" to them is very much universal. The fact that the story is based on the author's own experiences grounds it and pulls the reader right into the cozy home, making it easy to imagine the sounds, smells and sights of that one afternoon. The illustrations are beautiful, a limited color palette only serving to accentuate the sketch-like quality of the lines that seem to have been drawn by the same pencil that is at the center of the story. A wonderful message about using resources wisely while not letting go of your imagination, The Pencil is a must-read for kids and adults alike.
— CM Magazine
"A family-focused story with a light moral that lovingly illuminates a lifestyle rarely seen in children's books."
— School Library Journal
"A wonderful and touching story about resilience and thrift and community."
— New York Times
" [A rich and moving story about how small things can make a tremendous difference in children’s lives...Avingaq’s childhood is beautifully evoked in this charming story about the need to take care of our belongings." - The Globe and Mail
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Authors Avingaq and Vsetula understand life in Nunavut, Canada, and embed in the story the importance of being responsible for belongings and caring for them wisely...A breath of warmth from the far north.
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A family-focused story with a light moral that lovingly illuminates a lifestyle rarely seen in children’s books.
View Review quote