My Father’s Arms are a Boat

Summary: A young boy who is unable to sleep at night goes to his fathers arms. The boy starts asking questions about the animals around them, like foxes and the birds. Eventually, the boys asks if his mother will ever wake up. The dad replies “no,” but that everything will be alright.

Cultural Markers: Both author Stein Lunde and illustrator Oyvind Torseter are from Norway. Both authors have also won many awards as an author and illustrator from Norway, respectively. The setting of this book is in what seems to be a cold and remote cabin. Which is familiar to those from Norway. It can be inferred that the skin color of both the dad and the son are white, which is common in Norway.

Personal Reflection: Although this book comes from Norway, the moral of the story can still be attributed to anyone in the world. The sleepless young boy who asks his father questions about life is something many young people can relate to. And the father who responds with “everything will be alright” is a simple and cliche message, but it helps a lot with the grieving process, which is what both our characters are going through.

Review Excerpts:  “This distinctive look at life, death, and grief is beautiful and thought-provoking.” — School Library Journal

The striking, paper-cut-out illustrations add an unforgettable touch to this poignant tale of love, loss and comfort. Highly recommended.” — Midwest Book Review

Similar Books:

Lesson Plans:

Lunde, S. (2012). My father’s arms are a boat Ill. by O. Torseter (K. Dickson, Trans.). New York: Enchanted Lion Books.

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