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Those Who Run in the Sky
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Those Who Run in the Sky

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  27 reviews
This teen novel, written by Iqaluit-based Inuit author Aviaq Johnston, is a coming-of-age story that follows a young shaman named Pitu as he learns to use his powers and ultimately finds himself lost in the world of the spirits.

After a strange and violent blizzard leaves Pitu stranded on the sea ice, without his dog team or any weapons to defend himself, he soon realizes t
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 8th 2017 by Inhabit Media
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Lavoie Lianne (The Towering Pile) In my library I made it available to anyone (before reading it), and having just read it I'll stick with that. The only content warning I'd give is th…moreIn my library I made it available to anyone (before reading it), and having just read it I'll stick with that. The only content warning I'd give is that there is a lot of fighting between humans and animals. The main character's a hunter so obvious lots of animals are killed, but also animals attack him fairly brutally. There's definitely blood. I wouldn't give it to a very sensitive young reader. But there's no human-on-human violence, no swearing, and no sex. I don't see a need to limit it to grade 7 and 8.(less)

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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  113 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this with my 9-year-old. He was rather affronted by killing animals (being the city kid that he is), and grossed out by characters eating raw meat, but these provided excellent teachable moments. There are some very scary moments (the qallupilluit are terrifying) that may be a bit much for a more sensitive child, but mine was fine.

There's a chapter late in the book where Pitu, the main character, gets into a screaming match with his mentor, Taktuq, about respect and morality. It was fant
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story of Pitu, an Inuit hunter who is moving from a boyhood to manhood and becoming not only a "Great Hunter" but also a leader and shaman for his people. This story incorporates many stories and mythologies of Indigenous peoples in the north.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This coming of age story centres around a young Inuit hunter named Pitu. One day he gets caught up in a violent snowstorm and loses his way. He discovers he has left the world he knows and has entered into a spiritual world of demonic mythological creatures that want to destroy him and prevent him from ever returning to his beloved home and the girl he loves.

He battles savage black wolves who stalk him non-stop and ugly, hideous water creatures that want to submerge him in the icy waters and en
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Those Who Run in the Sky incorporates traditional Inuit folklore and legends into this coming-of-age tale. Pitu is a talented young hunter who has been identified as possessing the skills to be a shaman. However, while Pitu is out on a hunt, he becomes stranded without supplies in a blizzard and realizes he is in the spirit world. He has many lessons to learn there, with many unique teachers, before he can make his way back home.

The authentic Inuit voice represented in this novel makes it valuab
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
ETA: May 21, 2019
When I told my students that my initial review was only 3 stars, they all gasped in horror that I would give it such a low rating. They did not find it wordy at all and loved how the descriptions moved the story along, building the suspense in Pitu’s story. I have never had a class of grade 7 students so excited about a novel before. Thank you Aviaq for your amazing storytelling.

Sept 2018
The story is great with lots of fantastic creatures from the spirit world but it is quite w
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 4.5 of 5

Aviaq Johnston's Those Who Run the Sky is an exciting, coming-of-age story that should be read by every fifth-grader on the North American continent.

Pitu is a young Inuit boy. He is out hunting when a storm hits and he becomes lost, without his dogs or weapons, and the strange storm takes him to a spirit world where he faces some of the toughest tests imaginable - from terrifying, red-eyed wolves to a giant who wants to
Sep 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Those Who Run in the Sky is a middle grade, fantasy novel about a young Inuk man, Pitu, who learns that not only is he to be the next leader of his igluit, his village, but also is to become a powerful shaman. But when he is swept into the spirit world, he has to struggle with more than he bargained for.

This novel is, to my unlearned mind, a great first representation of Inuit culture and mythology, told by an author who is herself Inuk. She also uses this story to teach Inuk words, which is pa
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A short Inuit fantasy/paranormal story, first in a trilogy. A nice change for anyone who likes fantasy or paranormal stories but is tired of everything being set in England, France, or New York. I enjoyed the glimpse into traditional Inuit life, particularly the fluid nature of families with the way adoptions were done. The first few chapters mostly just show everyday life in a pre-European-contact Inuit community, with the protagonist starting to make a name for himself in his village and a few ...more
Jennifer Paquette
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Didn't quite deliver. I was expecting an Inuk Hobbit or Lord of the Rings type story, mixed with some Game of Thrones elements. Unfortunately, it didn't quite get there for me. This book was a quick read, but I had a hard time getting into it. The beginning was slow and I thought a bit characteristic of "info dumping". The journey portion that makes up the largest chunk of this book was good. The ending was disappointing. All that said, I am all there for the Inuk representation and the preserva ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019aty
A northern coming of age story of a young Inuit shaman where the second half was better than the first. The in-your-face reality of sustenance hunting might be too much for some, and the traditional names might make it hard to follow. A glossary of terms in the back is helpful.

I would read more of Johnston's work. I would love to read more stories of Pitu, or of the ones who run in the sky.
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: myrca, ya-fiction
I didnt like how it took so long to get to the exciting part of the story, and then the ending was so disappointing. It's a valuable read because of how it introduces inuit culture, and I like that it does that, but most of it was very boring. Also, the title refers to obly one small part of the story; it seems to me that the title should refer to the story as a whole.
Megan Carper
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
I really enjoyed this story. It felt very heartfelt and was intriguing. There was something about the pacing or writing that I had trouble connecting with though. The description of the timeline was a bit confusing.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Dark and grotesque creatures. A land of snow and ice. Everything points towards an enjoyable read, but I had trouble getting into it. The names, while I appreciated the use of traditional language, made it hard for me to remember and relate. I would still recommend it though.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good read.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda Kramers
Aug 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Very hard to read really didnt like it did not keep my interest at all
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I liked this novel a lot more than I expected to :)
Mary-Esther Lee
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Inuit myths and customs are the inspiration behind Johnston's fantastical novel, which commemorates a lost way of life. Mysterious, thoughtful, and emotional, it deserves a wide readership.
Brenton Walters
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. It's a wonderful adventure, the pacing is great, and the characters all feel real.

I also love her children's book, What's My Superpower?.
Charlotte Helgeson
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The look into folklore and culture of the far north was fascinating. The names were tough to pronounce, but the story flowed smoothly around them. I'd love to read another title by this author.
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! Beautiful story, such a quick read. Loved her writing and looking forward to the next.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read!
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
A short book but took me a long time to get through. It just didn't keep my interest.
Jessica Sultan
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book recommended to me by my 10 year old son. It was surprisingly good!
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this engaging look at Inuit culture. I am floored by some of the low reviews here. I found it engrossing and informative. The writing and story are well paced. Such a gem of a book
Piers Calvin
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read and reviewed for my work. Good read for teams.
rated it it was ok
Aug 24, 2017
Tabitha Snelgrove
rated it liked it
Mar 11, 2019
Alistair Stewart
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2019
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Aviaq Johnston is a young Inuk author from Igloolik, Nunavut. Her debut novel Those Who Run in the Sky was released in the spring of 2017. In 2014, she won first place in the Aboriginal Arts and Stories competition for her short story “Tarnikuluk,” which also earned her a Governor General’s History Award. Aviaq is a graduate of Nunavut Sivuniksavut, and she has a diploma in Social Service Work fro ...more

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