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Suzie Napayok-Short sees the silver lining in pandemic-publication of latest children’s book

Author battled cancer while working on second book
Iqaluit-born and Yellowknife-based author Suzie Napayok-Short published her second children’s book in September 2020. Photo courtesy of Inhabit Media ᐃᖃᓗᖕᓂ-ᐃᓅᓂᑯ ᐊᒻᒪ ᔭᓗᓇᐃᕝᒥ-ᑐᙵᕕᓕᒃ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᒐᓂ ᑎᑎᕋᖅᑎᐅᔪᖅ ᓲᓯ ᓇᐸᔪᖅ–ᓱᐊᑦ ᑎᑎᕋᐃᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ ᒪᕐᕈᖓᓂ ᓱᕈᓯᕐᓄᑦ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᒐᕐᒥ ᓯᑎᐱᕆ 2020–ᒥ.

Iqaluit-born and Yellowknife-based author Suzie Napayok-Short has published two children’s books since 2015, the year her first children’s book Wild Eggs was published.

Her second book geared toward a younger audience, Kits, Cubs, and Calves: An Arctic Summer, was published on Sept. 1, 2020, right as the second wave of COVID-19 was beginning to rise.

“It was a scary time last September about a year ago, I was also battling cancer and I continued working on it to keep my mind off my cancer. It probably would have been better-known had there been no pandemic,” she said.

Nonetheless, she has had friends and colleagues praise Kits, Cubs, and Calves, and while she couldn’t host a book signing this time around, it was encouraging to see the reception.

“People would say how much they love the book and I find it was well-received, it was just not the same as the publication of Wild Eggs,” Napayok-Short said.

“The illustrations are interesting to look at, we tried to present different views from my mind and we had a really good illustrator,” she added.

Montreal artist Tamara Campeau worked on the book’s illustrations.

The book is about a girl named Akuluk who is visiting her family in Nunavut. Surrounded by her family on her uncle’s boat, Akuluk gets to experience the sights, sounds, and animals of the ocean and along the coastline.

With each animal they encounter, they also see a family, including a polar bear and her cubs, a family of belugas and an arctic fox with her kits.

Kits, Cubs, and Calves, Napayok-Short says, is meant to help kids learn about how wildlife sustains itself.

“If you take a really close look it’s very similar to how we try to survive too. They have their own ways of caring for their babies,” she said.

Kits, Cubs, and Calves: An Arctic Summer was published by Inhabit Media and can be found on their website and other sites books are sold online.