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MY FATHER'S BOAT by Sherry Garland


by Sherry Garland & illustrated by Ted Rand

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-590-47867-2
Publisher: Scholastic

From Garland (The Last Rainmaker, 1997, etc.), a treasure for readers to open again and again, for the beauty of the lyrical prose, and the powerful, bittersweet story of family love. Before sunrise, a Vietnamese immigrant and his son set out on a fishing boat to catch shrimp off the Texas coast. Evoked are the sounds and scent of the sea, the hard work of the fishermen, and the loving relationships between generations. The boy notices that “it feels lonely, out on the sea, but my father says that is part of a fisherman’s life—being alone with the ocean and sky and creatures living below, and alone with your memories.” When they stop to eat cold rice and sip hot tea, the father sings songs he learned in Vietnam, and tells his son about his own fisherman father: “He taught me all I am teaching you. But when the war came to our little village on the other side of the world, he could not leave the land he loved, and I could not stay.” On the road home, the tired boy sleeps, dreaming “that they are together: my grandfather, father, and I—out on the lonely sea in my father’s beautiful boat.” Acrylic and watercolor illustrations extend the mood of the story, from the fog-enshrouded first spread of sunrise to full daylight the following day, and endpapers of white gulls whirling against the magenta sky. Beautiful and compelling. (Picture book. 6-10)