Call it courage by Armstrong Sperry

   Regina  Review by:  Regina

Title:  Call it courage

Author:  Armstrong Sperry

Collection:  Juvenile Fiction

I haven’t read Call It Courage, a juvenile Newbery Medal winner, in many a moon. A friend had returned it to the library and she left a note about how much she had enjoyed reading it as a child. So to refresh my memory – I reread it myself. This particular copy has preserved the original, beautiful blue and white illustrations.

Mafatu, 15 year old son of a Polynesian island chief, has had great loss in his life. His mother died when he was only three. Both had been at sea in their small canoe when a great storm flung them into the shark infested water. Barely alive, both had been washed to a nearby island. Only Mafatu survived – but was left with nightmares and a fear of the water so great that it impairs his daily life. At last, tired of the talk and judgment in the eyes of his people, Mafatu decides to strike out and confront his fear of the ocean – with only his friends, Uri, his pup,in the canoe and Kivi, his pet albatross, in the air. In the coming days, Mafatu’s courage is tested over and over again and although he feels very small and alone in the world, he rises to meet the many challenges. With each hurdle crossed, Mafatu becomes more self assured and confident.

Anyone that is bullied or has a fear confronting an issue, juvenile or adult alike, would be advised to read this simple but rich story of historical fiction published originally in 1940. And in its simplicity, lies part of the charm…

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