A gorgeous picture book that pays homage to aviator Freddie Carmichael — the first Indigenous commercial pilot in the Arctic —with each month of the year highlighting moments from his life, the beauty of the North and the power of dreams.
When Freddie was young, he saw a plane up close for the first time when it dropped off supplies at his family’s remote bush camp. He was instantly hooked.
Freddie has flown for nearly seventy years, doing everything from supply runs to search and rescue to transporting dog teams to far-flung areas.
This book celebrates Freddie’s early dreams of flying and his later achievements. Readers move with Freddie through the year, hearing about his journey as a pilot and leader, while learning the names of the months in Gwich’in and Inuvialuktun at the same time. Art from Inuvialuit painter Audrea Loreen-Wulf perfectly captures the incredible Western Arctic as well as Freddie’s love for aviation.
FREDERICK “FREDDIE” CARMICHAEL split his childhood between the trapline and the town of Aklavik, Northwest Territories (NWT). He worked hard to become the first Indigenous commercial pilot in the Arctic, founded multiple aviation companies and has served the people of the Mackenzie Delta in the air and as a leader and Elder. Fred is a Member of the Order of Canada and Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, and he holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Saskatchewan. Fred still flies his Cessna 170 from his home in Inuvik, NWT, where he lives with his wife, Miki, and their dog, Shadow. This is his first book.
DANIELLE METCALFE-CHENAIL is the author of several books about aviation and reconciliation, including the picture book Alis the Aviator: An ABC Aviation Adventure. She has cherished her visits to the Western Arctic and was Writer in Residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon. Danielle lives by the sea in Nova Scotia/Mi’kma’ki with her young family. www.daniellemc.com
Artist AUDREA LOREEN-WULF was born in the Tuktoyaktuk area and lived there as a young child. She now lives in Salmon Arm, BC. She expresses her deep love for the North through her paintings.
"Telling his tale in the third person along with Metcalfe-Chenail, Carmichael goes from school-age daydreams of flight in the tiny town of Aklavik, Canada, to adventures as a private pilot on the Mackenzie Delta. . . . Painting on rough canvas, Loreen-Wulf underscores the breadth and beauty of the subarctic landscape with scenes of musk oxen and caribou, broad snowfields, and swathes of seasonal wildflowers beneath twilit skies and bright Northern lights. . . . Shines with a love of both planes and place." —Kirkus Reviews
"The story of an Indigenous boy who dreamed of taking to the sky unfolds across the year in this picture-book biography that draws on Gwich’in language, the power of an unshakable passion, and, as rendered in the gorgeous painted illustrations, the beauty of nature." —Booklist
"With few autobiographies for children about Indigenous 'firsts,' this fills a niche." —School Library Journal
"Beautiful artwork, depicting the Far North, was created with acrylic paint on canvas. The story is told through the twelve months of the year which are noted in English, Videetoh Goojiidhat and Hiqinnatchiaq." —Youth Service Book Review
"Freddie The Flyer is a captivating true story of great flying inspiration. A beautiful homage to Freddie — the first Indigenous commercial pilot in the Arctic. A must read!" —Momma Braga
"An empowering story, Carmichael’s journey to becoming a pilot illustrates the importance of dreams." —The Miramichi Reader