Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails


32 pages
ISBN 1-55037-338-2
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Vladyana Langer Krykorka
Reviewed by Kelly L. Green

Kelly L. Green is co-author of The Ethical Shopper’s Guide to Canadian
Supermarket Products and associate editor of the Canadian Book Review


Kataujaq is an Inuit girl who lives with her mother and father and
grandmother in the Far North. She loves being outside with her mother
year round, catching fish in the frozen lake in the winter and picking
berries in the late summer. But when her mother succumbs to a big
sickness and goes away, never to return, Kataujaq’s life is changed.
She remains very sad until her grandmother comes to watch her play
soccer on the ice while the northern lights shimmer above the players’
heads. When grandmother tells her that the northern lights are really
the souls of loved ones playing soccer in the sky with a big walrus
head, Kataujaq feels her mother return to her, watching and smiling.

This lovely tale is beautifully told, but may be a bit threatening for
very young children. The language is simple but eloquent, except when
the author descends to childish cliché (e.g., “Her mother taught
Kataujaq all kinds of neat stuff they had done when she herself was
little”). The story and language impart a great deal about Inuit life
and culture, as do the beautiful illustrations.

Krykorka’s artwork is superb. The illustrations are colorful,
energetic, detailed, and touching. Krykorka is rapidly becoming a
national treasure. The book is further enhanced by photographs of
detailed bead work from an amaut (decorative parka). Highly recommended
for story, illustration, and cultural importance.


Kusugak, Michael Arvaarluk., “Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,