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Sweetest Kulu crawls to high accolades
Throatsinger turned author's first children's book named best bedtime picture book by Huffington Post

Dana Bowen
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 15, 2014

With comforting words told to a newborn baby and drawings of Arctic animals alongside a bundled up Inuit child, it is no wonder Sweetest Kulu was named the best bedtime picture book of the year by Huffington Post.

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Sweetest Kulu is throatsinger Celena Kalluk's first children's book, which was named best picture bedtime book of the year by Huffington Post. - photo courtesy of Kelly Ward

The international online media site hosts an annual list of best picture books of the year, selecting published works from across the globe.

"Shimmering with musical text (Kalluk is a renowned Inuit throat singer) and stunning illustrations, Sweetest Kulu shows the hopes and dreams that accompany the arrival of a new child," writes Minh Le in the Huffington Post article. "For those who consider the bedtime story to be sacred, it's hard to do better than ending the day with the whispered incantation: 'because you are true love.'"

Written by Inuit throatsinger Celina Kalluk, it tells the story of a newborn baby welcomed into the world the mother and Arctic animals.

The publisher welcomes the praise.

"It's really unique," said Christopher Neil, co-founder of Inhabit Media. "She has a beautiful way of looking at the world."

The story is told by a mother speaking to her "sweetest kulu" a term of endearment in Inuktitut.

Each animal teaches the baby something different and describes values of Inuit through the animals.

It begins with the baby born in the summer and welcomed by the Smiling Sun that never sets in the summer. It is then taught lessons by animals such as the Snow Bunting.

The illustrator was chosen for the book by the publishing company who thought the combination could not have been a better fit, said Neil.

Illustrator Alexandria Neonakis creates crisp colourful drawings of the baby held closely by animals.

"It's a great marriage of word and image," said Neil. "The illustrations capture very tender moments."

Her work has also been seen in the children's book, The Lonely Dragon by Bruce Davis III.

Sweetest Kulu was published in November with the book launch set for Dec. 13 at Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum in Iqaluit.

It is available at the museum until Jan. 18.

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