“Her mother taught Kataujaq all kinds of wonderful things…. They had so much fun.” This is how we are told, rather than shown, that Kataujaq enjoys life with her mother, who sickens and dies. Kataujaq mourns deeply.
In late fall the whole village plays soccer on the ice under the Northern Lights. Kataujaq is told by her grandmother that the dead play soccer too, and is convinced she sees her mother playing with other souls in the Lights. This award winner(!) is a boring, awkwardly narrated story, capitalizing on the political correctness of aboriginal mysticism.
The artwork by Krykorka can be captivating, but character’s faces are often too crude.
So many children’s books frighten young readers with the death of a parent, and direct that fundamental fear towards a belief system. Promotion of religious belief is probably the most common child propaganda, but others abound, such as anti-hunting (Bambi) and self-immersion in the determinism of Nature (Lion King’s Circle-of-Life), or of Nature’s superiority to Man. Northern Lights simply reiterates a mystical Eskimo belief: all people who die, join a game in the sky.