Saturday, September 19, 2015

Talk Like a Pirate, Hope Like a Father & Son

Aye, maties, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day! Shiver me timbers! You'll find some jolly good pirate books in your libraries and bookstores, but I wanted to tell you about this one.

My Father the Great Pirate by Davide Cali, illustrated by Maurizio A.C. Quarello, was published in Australia. I am thankful that my local library purchases items published elsewhere to give me a broader view of the world.

Well, who doesn't want to think that their father is great? And a great pirate? What's better than that? That's what son thinks when he hears his father tell tales of his journeys on the high seas. But then, something happens, and the boy finds out the truth. Is is father nothing better than a liar? How could the boy love this man? Then, something else happens, and we find out the father's ability to create a metaphor for his son--and himself. And when the final something happens, the son (and we readers) find out that sometimes metaphor is truth. 

The author's note at the end explains the history behind this story, which was inspired by real events--the post-WWII migration of Italian men who went to Belgium to work in coal mines. A tragic fire in one of the mines killed 262 miners in 1956. More than half of them were Italians.

This is a picture book for older readers, and it packs a wallop. In addition to learning about an incident in history, we see some amazing coping skills at work.

Take a look, and fair winds to ye! I'm shovin' off!

For more piratey pursuits, see this previous post