Reading List: “Call it Courage” by Armstrong Sperry - Kumon

Reading List: “Call it Courage” by Armstrong Sperry

This classic tale set in the South Pacific is the story of Mafatu, christened Stout Heart by his father Tavana Nui, the Great Chief of the island of Hikueru. Mafatu was only three years old when a hurricane carried him and his mother into the open sea. Cast on shore, she died; he lived—with the terrifying memories of that fateful day in his heart—forever fearful of the sea. In a culture where courage itself is almost a god and the sea a revered member of the tribe, it is unthinkable that the chief’s son should be afraid of the sea.

The tribe considers him a coward; his father is ashamed of him. Isolated and mocked, Mafatu decides to leave, face the Sea God, and conquer his fear. So with his dog Uri at his side and his albatross Kivi circling overhead, he sets off on a journey to find his hidden strength.

How Mafatu does this, returning home a true warrior, is the story of Call It Courage. Even today the people of Hikueru sing Mafatu’s story over their evening fires—the triumphant tale of Stout Heart.