Jordin Tootoo

by Melanie Florence
James Lorimer & Company, 2011
ISBN 978-1-55277-529-5 $9.95, 103 pp, ages 11+

Some say Jordin Tootoo is just another brute in the NHL. He fights, he racks up penalty minutes, he checks at full speed and his slap shot flies at 154.6 kilometres per hour. Others say he’s a role model. He’s the first Inuk to play in the NHL. He’s a household name in Nunavut. Kids within Canada’s Aboriginal communities look up to him and Jordin takes his responsibility very seriously. On the ice he’s an agitator, but he doesn’t stoop to rude or personal comments. He’s persistent and plays with total concentration. Off the ice, he stops to visit with fans, signs autographs, poses for pictures, and promotes that education comes first; he plans to have a bright future when he’s finished with the NHL. This biography follows Jordin’s childhood in the Arctic, rooted in Inuit tradition and his parents’ constant support. There is no stronger example of family than the Tootoos: they relocated, began a local hockey league, sent their sons to the “big city” where they were billeted by other families, suffered through losing Jordin’s brother Terrence, and continued to support Jordin’s passion and dedication for hockey. Photographs and factoid insets spread throughout the biography help the reader visualize Tootoo’s childhood. Rich descriptive language brings the reader into the hockey game where “blades cut a path across the ice and breathing rasps.”

Curriculum Connections: This text lends itself well as a resource for biography research and writing units, supports a character study for sports and Aboriginal heroes, and packs enough action to be a great “book for boys” in a classroom library.

Review by Amanda Forbes.

This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s May/June 2012 issue.

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