Tag Archives: Armstrong Sperry


‘Call It Courage’ is an award-winning children’s novel written by Armstrong Sperry. It tells the story of a young boy who sets out on a journey in order to overcome his deepest fear.



Since witnessing his mother die, Mafatu has been afraid of the ocean. As the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worship courage, he is expected to be brave and fearless; only he is not. Branded a coward, he doesn’t get much sympathy from his tribe.

Not being able to bear the situation anymore, Mafatu is desperate to face his demons and prove everyone wrong. He takes his canoe and together with his companions – a dog named Uri and an albatross, Kivi – ventures out to the sea, knowing that he will either come back as a hero, or he won’t come back at all.


This extremely short story is an excellent read for children and adults alike. It’s a classic tale of self-determination which shows and reminds you that you’re able to achieve anything you want; you just have to believe and find that inner strength that gives you courage to conquer your fears. This timeless message appeals to readers nowadays as much as it did in 1940s, when the book was first published.

The universal theme presented in the novel is naturally the main reason why people – both young and old – reach for this title. But, truth be told, it wouldn’t be so attractive if Armstrong Sperry hadn’t constructed it in such a clever way.

The story takes place in the South Seas and this alluring tropical setting definitely seizes the imagination. Right from the beginning you are transported to the magical world, with the most intriguing culture saturated with legends, myths, and folk tales. The author introduces Polynesian gods and sends his character to the island of the ‘black eaters of men’. For some readers those frequent references to certain practices and pagan beliefs may be quite bothering, especially taking into account that this is juvenile literature. However, all of them seem amply justified, as they only enhance the mysterious atmosphere of the old days. Moreover, they are so neatly woven into the narrative that their presence certainly does not overwhelm the story itself.

The novel is exceptionally well paced; it isn’t tedious or mundane, so it makes a wonderful and engaging read for adventure-loving children. Also worthy of note is the beautiful language that intensifies the overall experience and teaches youngsters to appreciate the poetry of the written word. With his vivid descriptions, Armstrong Sperry brings the ancient times to life, giving you a chance to discover the fascinating past of the Blue Continent.

‘Call It Courage’ is one of not so many children’s books set in the Pacific Islands. This fact alone should be a sufficient justification for purchasing this title. If it isn’t, let me just tell you that this thoroughly enchanting novel is not only a promise of enjoyment, but also a great source of inspiration that motivates readers to follow their dreams and overcome whatever obstacle stands in their way.


‘Call it Courage’ by Armstrong Sperry

This beautiful novel tells the story of Mafatu, a teenage boy who sets out on a journey in order to overcome his great fear of the sea. As he confronts different obstacles, he realizes that he has enough strength to cope with the challenges of life.

Fantastically written, the book is an inspiring read for boys and girls alike. Its immensely interesting plot takes children on a wonderful voyage to the South Seas, giving them a chance to discover their own potential.

‘Sirena: A Mermaid Legend from Guam’ by Tanya Taimanglo

Sirena is a young Chamorro girl who has a deep love for nature. She spends her time in the sparkling waters of a nearby river, often neglecting the household chores. Her harmonious life changes when she is cursed by her own mother.

This is the most amazing tale, especially for girls. Not only does it teach young readers a valuable lesson, but also gives them an opportunity to get to know the traditional legend from the island of Guam. The book itself is a real beauty – with all the marvelous illustrations, it’s something anyone will cherish for life.

Niuhi Shark Saga by Lehua Parker

The books are focused on a boy named Zader, who was found abandoned on a reef and adopted by the Westin family. His life in Lauele Town, Hawaii, is not a peaceful one and there are secrets just waiting to be discovered.

The saga is a five-volume series. ‘One Boy, No Water’ and ‘One Shark, No Swim’ have already been published; the third one is due out this year. The story is so engaging and compelling, that it’s really hard to put the books down. Zader’s adventures will easily capture any child’s interest and imagination, transporting them into a new world, where magic is mixed with reality. Perfect especially for boys, but girls may love it too.