Ahiahia the Orphan

ᐊᓯᐊᓯᐊᓗ ᐊᖓᔪᖅᑳᖏᒃ ᐃᓄᐊᖅᑕᐅᖅᑳᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᒃ. ᐊᓯᐊᓯᐊ ᓂᖕᒋᐅᖕᒐᑕ ᐱᕈᖅᓴᓕᓚᐅᖅᐹ ᑕᐃᑲᓂ ᐃᒡᓗᒥᓂ ᐊᒥᓱᓂᒡᓗ ᐊᑭᕋᖅᑐᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᓂᖕᒋᐅᖕᒐᓗ ᖃᐅᔨᒪᕗᖅ ᑖᒃᑯᐊ ᓄᓇᖅᑲᑎᖕᒋᑦ ᖃᑯᒍᒥᐊᖅ ᐊᓯᐊᓯᐊᒧᑦ ᓵᑦᑐᒫᖅᑐᑦ ᑕᐃᒪ’ᓇᑦᑕᐅᖅ ᐊᖓᔪᖅᑳᕋᓗᐊᖏᑐᑦ ᓂᖕᒋᐅᖕᒐ ᐊᓯᐊᓯᐊᒧᑦ ᐊᓐᓄᕌᓕᐅᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᖖᒋᖅᐸᒃᖢᓂ, ᐊᒡᒍᐊᒥᓗ ᓴᓇᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᖏᐅᖅᖢᓂ ᖃᓄᐃᑕᐅᖁᖖᒋᖦᖢᓂᐅᒃ, ᕿᒻᒥᖓᓄᓪᓗ ᐊᓯᐊᓯᐊ ᐊᔪᖖᒋᓐᓂᖏᓪᓗ ᑐᕆᐊᖃᕐᓂᐊᖅᖢᓂᒋᑦ ᑖᒃᓱᒪ ᓂᖕᒋᐅᖕᒐᑕ ᖃᓄᐃᖁᖖᒋᖦᖢᓂᐅᒃ. ᑖᒻᓇ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑐᐊᖅ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖅᑕᐅᒃᑲᓂᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ ᑰᒑᕐᔪᖕᒥᐅᑕᒧᑦ ᓕᕙᐃ ᐃᓗᐃᑦᑐᕐᒧᑦ ᐊᒻᒪ ᑎᑎᕋᐅᔭᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ ᓇᐃᑦ ᐅᐃᓪᓴᓐᒧᑦ ᑎᑎᕋᐅᔭᖅᑕᐅᓪᓗᓂ, ᑎᑎᕋᐅᔭᖅᓯᒪᑐᖃᐅᔭᖅᖢᓂᐅᒃ ᑖᒻᓇ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᒐᖅ.

After his parents are brutally murdered, Ahiahia is raised by his grandmother in a camp surrounded by enemies. His grandmother knows that eventually the camp will turn on Ahiahia, just as it did his parents, so she chants a protection chant over the clothing that she lovingly sews for him, over the amulet and necklace she gives him, even over the dog that is his companion. When he is attacked, Ahiahia must use his agility, hunting skills, and the protection imparted by his grandmother to stay alive.

This traditional story is retold by Kugaaruk Elder Levi Illuitok, and illustrated in a comic book style by Nate Wells, giving life to an ancient story for new generations to enjoy.

Written by Levi Illuitok | Illustrated by Nate Wells

Paperback (Inuktitut) | ISBN: 978-1-77227-452-3 | $21.95 | 10.5″ x 7″ | 36 pages | Full-colour illustrations throughout | Ages 12+ |

Hardcover (English) | ISBN: 978-1-77227-443-1 | $19.95 | 10.5″ x 7″ | 36 pages | Full-colour illustrations throughout | Ages 12+ |


“The beauty of the landscape, the drama of the scenes of conflict, and the emotions of the characters are vividly expressed. This offering is a rich glimpse into a body of orally transmitted stories that will encourage readers to reflect on community values, changing cultural norms, and enduring human emotions. Viscerally powerful and entrancing.”—Kirkus

Wells employs a limited color palette featuring vivid red accents and dynamic paneling that plays into the frenetic energy of this riveting, movement-filled accounting. Efficient text by Illuitok emphasizes Ahiahia’s fear and ever-present feeling of unease, while intuitively providing a glimpse into a community experiencing upheaval amid times of change and loss.”—Publishers Weekly

“The narrative moves along at a quick pace, helped by Wells’s expressive illustrations. Inuit culture infuses the story, as well as the graphics – from the scenery to the clothing to grandmother’s facial tattoo. Sharing stories that the ancestors told – of traditions, myths, and legends – keeps the culture alive and demonstrates the power of kinship, relationships, and survival. In this story, the animal skin clothing – among other things – maintains its spirit; the grandmother has the knowledge and love necessary to create protection for her grandson. As is the case with many Iegends, the moral and lessons of the story are ones that readers can sit with, think about, and interpret for themselves.”—Quill & Quire


Best Books for Kids and Teens — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, 2023