Cover image for Minik's story
Minik's story
Dewey, Jennifer.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Marshall Cavendish, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 142 pages ; 22 cm
Minik, an adolescent Inuit girl, relates the conflicts brought into her tribe by the arrival of a priest from a whaling ship in the late nineteenth century.
Reading Level:
860 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.5 5.0 69146.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



An Inuit girl's struggle to come to terms with her mother's death Minik has always known the story of her mother's death, but as she becomes a young woman who will soon marry, her grandmother tells her the sordid details. Soon after, strange ships appear on the horizon. For the Inuit, the appearance of Dog Children--white men--has always brought bad luck, death, jealousy, and resentment. When an English minister takes up residence in her tribe, Minik ignores his teachings, which seem irrelevant to Inuit customs. Her people fall on hard times, however, and Minik must come to terms with the circumstances of her mother's death. This is a powerful story of a girl on the edge of adulthood, true to her culture as she's challenged by forces from the outside.

Author Notes

Author and illustrator Jennifer Owings Dewey was raised in New Mexico, but graduated from high school in California. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of New Mexico. Her writing career shows her deep attachment to the natural world and an interest in wilderness and unique environments. She received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a four-month stay in Antarctica, where she sketched and photographed the landscape and wildlife and kept a detailed journal of her experiences. She received the Orbis Pictus Award for Wildlife Rescue: The Work of Dr. Kathleen Ramsay, the John Burroughs Award for Mud Matters, and the National Science Teachers Association Award for her body of work in the field of nonfiction for children. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-Minik, a 12-year-old Inuit, tells of coming of age before the introduction of outside cultures. Interwoven with daily activities are many cultural facts, such as the belief in shape-shifting, taboos, and tattooing a girl's face in preparation for marriage. When the Dog Children (white whalers) arrive, the tranquillity of the camp is disturbed as the two worlds collide. Ashoona, Minik's wise grandmother, warns against trusting these strangers, believing that this will only bring unhappiness to their people. After a short, disruptive visit, the whalers depart, leaving behind an English minister who hopes to teach and convert the Inuits. Trouble does arrive at the camp, and even though he is not at fault, Longskirt is blamed. He is banished from the camp, and must find his own way back to his society. Minik's first-person narrative reveals her thoughts, fears, reactions, and misconceptions about these strange people. She calls on the fulmar, her "helping spirit," to guide her as she deals with each new experience. Readers come to know her as a caring, competent young woman, true to her environment. At story's end, she is married to the young man she was promised to as an infant, and pregnant. Through language that is appropriate and consistent with the times and culture, Dewey provides an accurate view of the Inuit way of life, yet this background information does not overwhelm the story.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.