Call It Courage

Call It Courage

Book - 1940
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Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided tha sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered-- so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross. A storm gave him his first challenge. Then days on a desert island found him resourceful beyond his own expectation. This is the story of how his courage grew and how he finally returned home. This is a legend. It happened many years ago, but even today the people of Hikueru sing this story and tell it over their evening fires.
Publisher: New York : The Macmillan company, 1940.
ISBN: 9780027860306
Call Number: SPERRY
Characteristics: 95 p. : ill. ; 23 cm
Subjects: Newbery Medal.
Survival -- Juvenile fiction.
Polynesia -- Juvenile fiction.


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Jul 30, 2016

This is a well written story of a boy who finally reaches a point in his life where he is willing to step beyond very reasonable childhood fear to find courage. The dramatic moments are action filled while giving an excellent understanding of what true courage is and why it is so valuable. The last two paragraphs give a surprise that puts a different weight to the whole story, so no peeking at the back!

Parents may want to know that as it is a Polynesian tale, as the writer says before the days of missionaries and explorers, the boy's tribal belief in the good and evil gods is intertwined through the story.
(Spoiler Alert/Content advisory) As well, the boy is inhabiting an island used as a taboo worship place for human sacrifice by a tribe of "eaters of men". While the author does a commendable job of carefully presenting the reality of these tribes and showing the hero as able to violate the taboo without the god's wrath on him, for my more sensitive readers, the description of the idol, the taboo, and the piles of human bones was very distressing to her imaginative mind. That particular scene can be skipped if you are aware of it but the dramatic tension of the hero always watching for the return of the eaters of men is still prevalent.

Jun 26, 2015

How could you not love the tale of this brave young island boy? So adventurous, a great little story for young children to enjoy.

Sep 02, 2013

this is a great story for young readers. very inspiring for the young reader

Feb 23, 2011

This book was awesome. I really enjoyed reading it. Lots of action.


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mccallfamily Sep 29, 2013

mccallfamily thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 12 and 10


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