Lena and Ruby

Inhabit Education. May 2022. 24p. Tr $20.95. ISBN 9781774504666.
Gr 1-2–Two different adoption stories are tenderly interwoven as Lena and Ruby, who are best friends with much in common, each take a turn to talk to the reading audience about their families, feelings, and ties to their Inuit community and culture. Through Lena’s cheerful, matter-of-fact dialogue, readers learn about her experience with Inuit custom adoption and how she grew up surrounded by her Inuit family; a back matter page further defines the traditional adoption practice. Ruby’s story reveals her experience with transracial adoption and plainly describes her sense of isolation before her caring adoptive parents connect her with Lena and her family. Cutler’s watercolor-like digital illustrations bring the characters into close focus, so readers cannot miss the happiness radiating from the expressive faces or the loneliness Ruby felt even when surrounded by people. True to the girls’ revelations that they each act as “bridges” for family and cultural understanding, the authors offer readers pronunciation help for words in the Inuktitut language and a glossary.
VERDICT Love, family, friendship, and cultural identity bond Lena and Ruby’s adoption stories together and reveal realistic glimpses into the Inuit world.

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