Written and Illustrated by Karin Littlewood
Immi’s Gift is a simple story of a little girl’s desire for friendship and how she finds it in the most unexpected of places. Immi is a lonely Inuit girl who lives in a stark world of bitter cold and white snow. One day while fishing on the ice, she brings up a little wooden bird. She’d never seen such beautiful colors before and she ties it on her necklace, alongside her treasured carved white bear. What happens next brightens Immi’s world. Day after day, when she comes to fish she catches brightly colored flowers, starfish, and leaves. They all are thrilling additions to her colorless life and she uses them to dress up her lonely igloo. Soon it was the brightest in the land and all the creatures come to visit Immi’s home. These special little gifts from the ocean not only brighten her life, but they warm her heart as her life is filled with creature friends and joy. When the ice begins to melt and she must move on, Immi has one last thought. Immi gives a gift of her own to the ocean as she drops her white bear charm into the water.
In a far off land, across the ocean, we meet Immi’s gift giving friend; a little boy tossing into the waves the brightest things he can find on the beach. As he sends his gift into the waves something on the beach catches his eye. Shining in the sand he discovers a beautiful small while bear. He picks it up and places it around his neck, where his little bird once was.
Author Karin Littlewood has illustrated many children’s book, but Immi’s Gift is her first to author as well. Each page is a beautiful portrayal of Immi’s life from stark and lonely, to bright and filled with friends. The idea of living alone in an igloo will draw children into the story from the start and curiosity about where these gifts from the ocean come from will keep kids reading to the end. This simple story is not as straightforward as it may seem when we arrive at the conclusion. The contrasting worlds of these two children will spark a whole lot of curiosity in your children as they discover the secret of the gifts. It’s a wonderful book that will draw further conversation, not only about how this could be possible, but also about the idea of sharing your blessing with others, even those on the other side of the world.
While Immi’s Gift is written at a second grade reading level, it would also suit well as a read aloud to younger children and even older children, especially when used as a spring board for other study. Immi’s Gift could be used as a spring board to talk about the contrasting climates, studying Inuit life, and even about ocean tides. This simple little story would make a fine addition to any library or book list.
Information about Karin Littlewood and her story of Immi can be found at www.karinlittlewood.com.