Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

The NAIT 'B-Ook' list: Cookbooks, novels, guides and more

The next book you read could be written by a grad

What’s a B-Ook?

Part of the term borrows from ookpik, the Inuktitut word for snowy or Arctic owl. Why is that relevant to this collection of cookbooks, novels, guides and other volumes? Because the ookpik, affectionately shortened over the years to “Ook,” has been NAIT’s mascot since 1964, and each of the books below is written by a grad.

Therefore, they’re b-Ooks.

Call them what you like. In the end, we hope that you’ll find – whether they’re about food, history, science, or nonfiction or fiction – that they're great reads.

(Are we missing books? Help our list grow by letting us know.)

mortimer, a novel by Joan Marie GalatMortimer: Rat Race to Space (2022)

By Joan Marie Galat (Biological Sciences Technology – Environmental Sciences ’84)

Galat continues her quest to get young readers excited about science and the natural world with her first novel.

It features Mortimer, a journal-keeping lab rat, who lands a spot on the International Space Station, where he’s determined to prove that rats would do a better job than humans of colonizing Mars.

But when his schemes go awry, he has to face new truths about dreams, friendship and choosing the right thing to do. While this is Galat’s first novel, she is also an accomplished writer of nonfiction for young readers, with titles that include:

And many more!

broken circle, a memoir by nait grad ted fontaineBroken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools (2022)

By Theodore Fontaine (Civil Engineering Technology ’73)

Originally published in 2010, Fontaine’s reissued memoir gives readers a firsthand account of a heartbreaking history.

The book chronicles his harrowing experiences of abuse at Fort Alexander and Assiniboia Indian Residential Schools, and describes the disconnection from his language and culture, and the loss of his family and community.

As part of his journey to healing, Fontaine offers insight into the reasons for the ongoing trauma from which many survivors suffer and shines a much-needed light on this dark time.


vegetables a love story, a cookbook by renee kohlmanVegetables: A Love Story (2021)

By Renée Kohlman (Culinary Arts ’99)

Kohlman’s follow-up to her award-winning All the Sweet Things is all about vegetables.

What inspired the about-face from all that sugar to all that fibre? Love – for a young man who presented her with a bouquet of asparagus on their first date.

That vegetable launches this acclaimed volume, followed by 23 chapters through to zucchini, to create a love story like no other, and one of the Globe and Mail‘s Top 100 Books of 2021.


tawaw, a cookbook by NAIT grad shane chartrandtawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine (2019)

By Shane Chartrand (Cook '04)

Named one of the world’s best cookbooks by the Gourmand awards, tawâw explores Chartrand’s personal journey to reconnect with his own Indigenous heritage and his understanding of the intersection of food and culture.

The book includes more than 75 recipes, insight into ingredients and techniques, and personal stories of a chef’s unique journey.



fishes of alberta, by shona derlukewichFishes of Alberta Field Identification (2017)

By Shona Derlukewich (Biological Sciences Technology – Renewable Resources ’05)

A must-have for the Alberta angler, this guide is loaded with pictures and carefully described identifying features of more than 65 fish species.

With 100 water-resistant pages, it’s an essential tool in the tacklebox, helping to determine whether what’s on the end of the line is free for the taking or an endangered species that needs releasing.

For those casting a line in rivers and lakes in Saskatchewan, Derlukewich recently produced a companion guide.

fire in the eucalypts, a memoir by nait grad harold larsonFire in the Eucalypts (2016)

By Harold Larson (Forest Technology ’13)

A veteran firefighter, Larson has vivid memories of the Australian wildfires of 2009.

That was the year of the "Black Saturday" bushfires, which claimed 173 lives. Eight years of drought and record-breaking temperatures caused the fires to burn at an unprecedented rate.

Larson was on the front lines – and barely escaped with his own life. In Fire in the Eucalypts, he offers a gripping record of Australia's worst natural disaster in history.


born to the wild, a memoir by NAIT grad Rob KayeBorn to the Wild: Journals of a National Park Warden in the Canadian Rockies (2015)

By Rob Kaye (Biological Sciences Technology – Environmental Sciences ’76)

What is the future of Canada’s national parks? That question could be said to guide this memoir by Kaye, a retired park warden of several decades and locations.

Vivid accounts of life in the backcountry fill the pages, including encounters with wildlife and humorous stories of camaraderie with colleagues.

In the end, it’s a call to action to consider how we use and misuse nature, and what the decisions we make might mean to the treasured wilderness spaces Kaye was tasked with stewarding.

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