Children teaching children is a technique that has been used by teachers for years. Often times, a child is able to put the content into a vocabulary that is easier to understand. Tom McLeod, co-author and subject of the picture book The Delta is My Home, shows his obvious love for storytelling while putting information about Canada’s MacKenzie Delta into a child’s vernacular.
McLeod is an eleven-year-old sixth grader who takes readers on a tour of his town, his family, and his culture. “My mom’s name is Margo,” he writes. “She is Inuvialuit. Since my dad is Gwich’in, that makes me and my brothers and sister mixed. Aklavik is cool that way. About half our town’s people are Gwich’in and the other half Inuvialuit.” Mindy Willett, who co-wrote this picture book, is an educator who lives in Yellowknife. Her research and knowledge of the area are apparent in the detailed captions that accompany the many photographs on every page. Photographer Tesssa Macintosh does an incredible job of capturing both the beauty of the area and the intimacy of the relationships.
Each page contains useful information about the area and culture while using side stories about Tom’s life to keep the interest of young readers. Several pages are devoted to hunting in the Delta. Tom tells the story of hunting his first caribou when he was nine. His own drawings of how muskrats make push-ups are included in the book as well: “In the springtime, people really love to go out ‘ratting’ and duck hunting. There are so many muskrats here that Aklavik is called ‘the Muskrat Capital of Canada.’”
The last pages provide definitions and more details about Gwich’in people and the vocabulary used throughout the book. Just one book in a series about Canada’s Northwest Territories, The Delta is My Home is presented in way children will take pleasure in reading. They will be enthralled with the photographs and in the end they will learn a great deal about the culture, family, and life of Tom McLeod and the Gwich’in people.
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