Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Sperry, Armstrong
Santa Barbara : Cornerstone, 1989.
IL 5-8 RL 5.8
ISBN 0027860302

(2 booktalks)

Booktalk #1

Set in the South Seas before the age of discovery. Mafatu, son of the great chief of a small island didn't dare take on the ocean. The ocean had taken his mother away and he was afraid the god of the sea wanted him too. After much chiding from his family, he knew he would leave to go away from the island. He had to save his family's honor. "Call It Courage" is the story of the voyage Mafatu took and the dangers he met -- the great storm, the wild pig, the shark, the giant octopus and finally, the tribe of drum-beating, flesh eaters whose sacred island he had desecrated by living there.

Booktalk #2

Mafatu’s name means “Stout Heart” but his people consider him a coward.  As a young boy, he experienced a tragedy at sea that claimed his mother’s life.  Since that time, he has lived in fear.  He brings shame to his tribe and to his father, the Great Chief of Hikueru, but he can’t seem to overcome his terror.  He is not like the other boys from this seafaring tribe that thrive on courage.  He is afraid.  Finally, when he is twelve years old, he can stand it no longer.  He knows that he must leave his home and prove to himself and his tribe that he deserves to be called “Stout Heart.”  He must face the sea and his fears alone.  He vows to not return home until he has proven himself, even if he dies trying.  Will the Sea God claim Mafatu as he did his mother  or will he conquer his fears once and for all?  Read Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry. (Lanora Rogers,,  Westview Elementary School Goose Creek, SC)

SUBJECTS:     Folklore -- Polynesia
                        Courage -- Folklore
                        Survival -- Folklore


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