The Inuit people inhabited the Arctic regions of Alaska, Greenland, Siberia, and Canada. During the long, dark winters, families would play games and tell stories. The stories were about animals, strong hunters, and the supernatural. The Polar Bear Son: An Inuit Tale, retold and illustrated by Lydia Dabcovich, is a story that has been handed down for generations. It's a tale about an old woman who finds a polar bear cub and raises it as her son. Even though the old woman sends the polar bear away, he remains faithful by continuing to supply her food.
Before reading The Polar Bear Son, discuss different folktales from other cultures. (This book can be used in a study of Arctic regions or folktales.)
Folktales are stories passed down verbally from generation to generation. Each person who tells the story tells it differently so it becomes even more interesting and engaging as the ages pass. Folktales give the characteristics of the culture and customs of the people from which they originated.
As students look at the beautiful illustrations, see if they can grasp the mystical feeling the author is trying to convey in the tale. One of the features of a tale or legend can involve the supernatural. Students can be reminded to pay attention to the illustrations to learn about the customs of the Inuit people and how they lived and survived in the Arctic region.
As students read the text, they can continue finding features of a tale. Throughout the book, students can also find descriptive words about the old woman. As the they read, students may understand how compassionate and kind she is. By reading this text, students can also learn facts about the polar bear...habitat, name for babies, description, diet, etc.
After reading, students will complete comprehension questions about the tale. Other books about the Arctic region, polar bears, or folktales from other cultures may be read so students can extend their learning.
- If you would like to extend this lesson even more, just go to my post on making snowflakes.
- And, if you want your students to research polar bears, I've created a Polar Bear Google Slides template and instructions for their research. Just click on the link and you will be led to make a copy. You can make a copy and rename for each student.
For your free activities about The Polar Bear Son, just click HERE or on the image below.
For more activities about polar bears, visit my TPT store. I have a comprehensive unit about polar bears that includes a Jeopardy PowerPoint. I also have an interactive lapbook that your students will love. And, both will be on sale.