Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Call It Courage

This past month I read Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry. The book was published in 1940 and won the Newberry Medal in 1941.

Call It Courage is a historical fiction mid-grade novel. It’s about a 10-year-old boy named Mafatu who is the son of the chief in a Polynesian tribe. Mafatu’s name means stout heart, but he is afraid of the sea. Mafatu is an embarrassment to his father and a laughing stock in his village. One day he leaves his village and heads out to sea in a canoe. Mafatu knows he must conquer his fear. After being thrown about in a hurricane, Mafatu lands on an island far from his home. He must fend for himself and build a canoe to return to his island. But first he proves his courage to himself when he kills a wild boar, a hammerhead shark, and an octopus. After narrowly escaping death at the hands of “man-eaters,” Mafatu returns to his village as a young man filled with courage.

I enjoyed this book and I think it could win the Newbery Medal today. I recommend it to 4th and 5th graders.

List of Recommended Books by Grade:

2nd grade –

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Miss Holly Is Too Jolly by Dan Gutman

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

3rd grade –

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Among the Impostors by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

4th grade –

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry

Louisiana's Song by Kerry Madden

The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

The Golly Whopper Games by Jody Feldman

5th grade –

Benjamin Pratt & The Keeper of the School by Andrew Clements

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

6th grade –

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman

Dewey by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech

The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

7th grade and up –

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Pendragon Book One: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Seventeen Second Miracle by Jason F. Wright