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Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
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Call It Courage (edition 1963)

by Armstrong Sperry, Dom Lupo (Illustrator)

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2,593302,306 (3.74)53
Member:MerryMary
Title:Call It Courage
Authors:Armstrong Sperry (Author)
Other authors:Dom Lupo (Illustrator)
Info:Scholastic Paperbacks (1963), Paperback, 92 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:YA, adventure, Newbery Medal, survival

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Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry

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» See also 53 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
I had mixed feelings about this book after reading it. I liked the book because of the well developed character, Mafatu. He had a very clear change throughout the book and I loved to see him become braver and fight through his battles. I wanted to scream along with him when he told the sea god that he was not going to be afraid of it anymore. But I did not like how the author chose to put many Polynesian words in without giving an English translation. For example, "[t]heir motu tabu had been profaned by a stranger" does not inform me of what the writer was trying to say. It would have been helpful to clarify that, but I can also understand the desire to keep certain words special in a language. The main idea of this book was to overcome fear and to not let it control your life. ( )
  rbanne1 | Sep 23, 2016 |
Call it recklessness. All of a sudden, during storm season, the boy finally decides he's had enough of being cowardly, and makes off with someone's boat and a half dozen drinking nuts and his fishing spear. Naturally he doesn't even tie anything down and loses all in a storm. Fortunately he lands on a fertile island and has enough talent to make a living there, but he still doesn't take care of the new knife he's made.

Well, if you can get past all that nonsense, and accept the mysticism, and don't care about complexity or depth, it's a rousing adventure of survival and it teaches some stuff about Polynesia.

And it has some nice language, turns of phrase. And it has absolutely spectacular pictures. Maybe it should have won the Caldecott, instead of the Newbery. Especially in the edition I read.


The shark pictured is not the hammerhead of the text. ?Š
Reread for GR Children's books, July 2015. ?áHere's what I said there:


Instead, I'd focus on the aspects of it that point to universal myths of quests, courage, will to live, stuff like that. I think I'd also guide the students to explore the fear of the black savage eaters-of-men and of their tabu. After all, Mafatu doesn't actually know anything concrete about them - and people have always demonized the enemy, and still do.

Mafatu also had quite a bit of luck and some almost unbelievable talents and strength - I would also talk about legends, myths, and tall tales with the students.

Interestingly, though there are lots of teacher resources online, and this is about the fifth time I've been 'assigned' to read this, I've never gotten the impression that many folks actually enjoy reading it. Some adults find it interesting, but as I said, I hadn't actually remembered it, and the copy at my library looks unread.?á

I like the pictures the same way. They're interesting, easy on the eyes, impressive ... but not necessarily memorable or even enjoyable.?á " ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Summary:
This is a tale of a boy named Mafatu that is terrified of the sea. After being made fun of by all of the other boys, he decides to face his fear and take on the sea. He ends up going on a big adventure and does things he never dreamed he would do like kill a wild pig, a shark, and an octopus. He is able to return home and prove to his father that his father should be proud of Mafatu.

Personal Reflection:
This boy was only supposed to be like 10 years old. As a mom, my first thought was, "He's still just a young pup!" He doesn't need to be alone with sharks and wild pigs. I don't know that I could handle those things at age 35.

Classroom Extension:
One idea would be to make "squisy bags" which would contain a blue gel and items that would resemble fish and sea life.

Another idea would be to build canoes similar to the one Mafatu built.
  robinkluth1980 | Apr 20, 2016 |
The 1941 Newbery winner, this is the tale of a young Polynesian boy overcoming his fear of the sea. As a young boy, Mafatu sees his mother die in the ocean during a storm. This instills in him a great fear of the sea, making him an outcast in his society where high value is placed upon bravery, and even more so because he is the son of the chief. After years of ridicule, determined to prove his bravery, Mafatu sets out in his canoe, gets caught in a storm, and lands on a distant island, where he is forced to come to terms with his fears.

The story is full of adventure and creates a nice sense of place, but it wasn't one of my favorites. ( )
  klburnside | Feb 21, 2016 |
A story 116 page chapter book for young readers who are starting chapter books. This book has lots of adventure and takes place in the Pacific. A young boy Mafatu is afraid of the ocean but becomes courageous after some amazing encounters on the ocean away from home.
  carldgibson | Dec 16, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Armstrong Sperryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It happened many years ago, before the traders and missionaries first came into the South Seas, while the Polynesians were still great in numbers and fierce of heart.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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CALL IT COURAGE has been published in the United Kingdom as THE BOY WHO WAS AFRAID.
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Book description
Mafatu has been afraid of the sea for as long as he can remember. Though his father is the Great Chief of Hikueru - an island whose seafaring people worship courage - Mafatu feels like an outsider. All his life he has been teased, taunted, and even blamed for storms on the sea.
Then at age fifteen, no longer willing to put up with the ridicule and jibes, Mafatu decides to take his fate into his own hands. With his dog, Uri, as his companion, Mafatu paddles out to sea, ready to face his fears. What he learns on his lonesome adventure will change him forever and make him a hero in the eyes of his people.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 141695368X, Mass Market Paperback)

Mafatu has been afraid of the sea for as long as he can remember. Though his father is the Great Chief of Hikueru - an island whose seafaring people worship courage - Mafatu feels like an outsider. All his life he has been teased, taunted, and even blamed for storms on the sea.

Then at age fifteen, no longer willing to put up with the ridicule and jibes, Mafatu decides to take his fate into his own hands. With his dog, Uri, as his companion, Mafatu paddles out to sea, ready to face his fears. What he learns on his lonesome adventure will change him forever and make him a hero in the eyes of his people.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:07 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Relates how Mafatu, a young Polynesian boy whose name means Stout Heart, overcomes his terrible fear of the sea, which killed his mother when he was a baby, and proves his courage to himself and his people.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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