I'm writing to you today from Ikuskik School in Salluit, in Nunavik. It's lunch time and I should really be eating lunch... but I couldn't resist slipping into the computer room so that I could send you my report!
Salluit is a beautiful snowy town on the Hudson Bay. I am working with Katherine's classes. I've already worked with a couple of her groups. I asked Katherine's Grades 7 students whether any of them liked to read or write. No one said anything at first, but then I caught a student named Maina looking at one of my books. Ah ha, I thought to myself, here's a reader!!
A few of Maina's classmates talked about how they go hunting for seal and caribou. I told them I'm a hunter, too, only I hunt for stories. I'm also a spy... wherever I go, I try to observe people and listen to their stories. Sometimes, I tell my students that the air around me feels "thick with stories." That's how it feels here in Salluit.
Tragically, the day before I arrived, a little boy was killed here in a car accident. In a town this size, everyone is touched by this death. I offered my condolences today to the students I met, and I told them how for me, when life gets really tough, when I feel close to giving up hope... I turn to writing and reading. Perhaps my visit here will inspire some of them to do the same.
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Dear Ms. Polak,
We are in school #5 in New York. We all say hi. Want to write letters back and forth with us? We would love to learn about Nunavik and the children going to school there. Maybe you should come visit us sometime. We mostly do reading and language arts in this school. We would like to know what you do. Do you have any books? What kind of books do you like and use there? Can you bring us some books of yours?
Hello school #5 in New York! How exciting to get an email from New York when I am here in Salluit! That's great that you want to learn more about the North. I will scout around and see if I can find a teacher with students who would like to correspond with you guys! I was supposed to fly to the town of Kangirsuk today, but the winds are very high and my flight was cancelled. School is closed for the morning, and maybe also the afternoon. Yes, I have lots of books. You can read more about them on my website. And yes, maybe one day, I'll come and visit you guys! Thanks so much for writing. And do me a favour, will you? Give Mr. Sheehan a big hug from me!!!