Inuit Mother & Child

Inuit 72dpi© Durga Yael Bernhard

This year marks the twentieth year that my picture book A Ride On Mother’s Back, published in 1997, has been in print.  The book was written by my ex-husband Emery Bernhard the year before.  As a husband-wife team, we worked together on the basic concept of the book – that of babies being carried through everyday activities on the bodies of their caregivers.   As believers in “attachment parenting” who carried our own two babies everywhere, we wanted to focus on those cultures where baby-carrying is still common practice today.

Our editor at Gulliver Books, an imprint of Harcourt-Brace (which later merged with Houghton-Mifflin to become Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt or HMH) had a lot of questions about the targeted age of our readers.  The text was too advanced for little kids, yet little kids and babies were shown in the book.  Emery and I had to convince our editor that older children were interested in babies – including their own past babyhood.  Then we had to present a variety of cultures with parenting practices that fit our book.  Without computers or internet, I had over fifty books out of the library for illustration reference and research.

A Ride On Mother's Back coverI especially enjoyed painting this image of an Inuit mother and child.  The stark landscape enabled the characters to stand out.  The baby is carried in the hood of the mother’s caribou-skin parka, where she is snug and happy as her mother fishes for Arctic char.  Their sled dog puppy, with its oversized paws, scrambles over a block of ice, amusing the child.  Like all the children in this book, baby Pelagie is not only secure but stimulated – soaking up the world around her, and learning as she is carried through her day.  The reader is also invited to learn, as the back of the book contains more information about the people shown in each illustration, and the culture they live in.

You can order a signed copy of A Ride on Mother’s Back through my webstore here.  You can also order a greeting card of the image by filling in the image name here, or a poster here.

A good week to all!


D Yael Bernhard
Author / Illustrator of
LOVE ISNew! – a unique crossover book for all ages
THE LIFE OF AN OLIVENew!! Explore the life of a 2000-year-old olive tree
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!
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