Call It Courage
By Armstrong Sperry
(Simon Pulse, Mass Market Paperback, 9781416953685, 128pp.)
Publication Date: January 29, 2008
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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.
Armstrong Sperry (1897–1976) is the author of many books for young readers, including Call It Courage, All Sail Set, Lost Lagoon, and Hull-Down for Action.
The New York Times "Whether this author is telling of clipper ships, of the days of the covered wagon, of the South Sea Islands, he writes always with imagination and integrity. Like all hero legends Mafatu's story has a strength and simplicity that appeals to a wide range in age and it is beautifully told. Mr. Sperry's fine drawings have the same spirit of adventure as the story and enhance the feeling of tropical seas and jungle given in the text. The story reads aloud well and will be useful to storytellers."
New York Herald Tribune "A boy's character at ten years old is more often influenced by emotion than by reasoning. Something in the conduct of a hero leaps like a spark to light his own spirit. A book with a hero can sometimes bring this about. This is such a book.... It is related with unusual skill, carrying along a reader so rapidly he scarecely realizes how well it is being told... The story is wild enough to be remembered, and it cannot be remembered without doing good."