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A Promise is a Promise

by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak & Robert Munsch
illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka

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native canadian, self-esteem & self-reliance
list price: $7.95
also available: Hardcover Paperback Hardcover
published: 1988
publisher: Annick Press
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
4 to 7
p to 2
Reading age:
4 to 7
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

A Promise is a Promise

This book, based on Kusugak’s childhood memories, tells the story of Allashua, a young Inuit girl. One spring day, she wants to go fishing on the ice but her mother tells her not to because the Qallupilluit, an imaginary troll-like creature living under the ice, might grab her. Allashua breaks her promise and meets the Qallupilluit. She is captured but is released when she promises to bring her siblings to the Qallupilluit instead. Allashua gets in trouble for breaking her promise to her mother, who makes her keep her promise to the Qallupilluit, but not necessarily in the way that they might like. An explanation of what Qallupilluit are is included at the end of the story.

Munsch is the bestselling author of The Paper Bag Princess. Kusugak is the author of My Arctic 1, 2, 3. Krykorka has illustrated all of Kusugak’s books.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. Canadian Aboriginal Books for Schools. 2007-2008.

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When Allashua disobeys her parents and goes fishing on the sea ice, she has to use her wits to escape the Qallupilluit--the troll-like creatures her parents have always warned her about that live beneath the frozen surface of the sea. But the only way to break out of their grasp is through an exchange: Allashua can go free if she brings her brothers and sisters back to the sea ice instead. Allashua doesn't want to give them up, but what can she do? After all, a promise is a promise. 

A Promise Is a Promise is a collaboration between award-winning storyteller Michael Kusugak and celebrated children's author Robert Munsch. This 30th anniversary edition brings all of the tension of the traditional Inuit story to a new generation of readers. Added features include a new foreword by Michael Kusugak on his role as a storyteller and the importance of storytelling in Inuit culture. 

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Editorial Review

“A strong picture-book offering from Robert Munsch, even if it’s not quite what one would expect from this author. I definitely recommend giving it a try.” —The Lady Bug Reads, 05/17/19

— The Lady Bug Reads
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Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

About the Authors

Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak

Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak is an Inuk storyteller who grew up in Repulse Bay, NWT (now Naujaat, Nunavut). During his childhood, his family traveled by dog sled, living a traditional Inuit lifestyle. He is the author of many picture books, including Northern Lights: The Soccer Trails, winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award.

He won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature in 2008. He lives in Valhalla, Manitoba.

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Robert Munsch

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Vladyana Krykorka

Vladyana Krykorka has illustrated and designed over 30 books for children. Her work has received numerous awards, including the Toronto Public Library’s recognition of Baseball Bats for Christmas as one of the 100 best children’s books of all time. In the last two years she has conducted art workshops in several Quebec Arctic communities, working with Inuit teachers in the creation of their own books and class materials, as well as textile printmaking techniques.

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