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My Father's Arms Are a Boatby Stein Erik Lunde
Synopses & Reviews
It's quieter than it's ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father's arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask questions about the birds, the foxes, and whether his mom will ever wake up. They go outside under the starry sky. Loss and love are as present as the white spruces, while the father's clear answers and assurances calm his worried son. Here we feel the cycles of life and life's continuity, even in the face of absence and loss, so strongly and clearly that we know at the end that everything will, somehow, be all right.
Born in 1953, Stein Erik Lunde has written sixteen books, mostly for children and young adults. His books have been published in many countries. This is his first book to be published in the United States. He also writes lyrics and has translated Bob Dylan into Norwegian. In 2009 My Father's Arms Are A Boat was awarded the Norwegian Ministry's Culture Prize for the Best Book for Children and Youth. The book was also nominated for the 2011 German Children's Literature Award.
Born in 1972, Øyvind Torseter is an artist and one of Norway's most acclaimed illustrators. He employs both traditional and digital picture techniques. Torseter has received numerous prizes for many of his books. In 2011 he received the Norwegian Book Art Prize. For 2012 he has been nominated for the ALMA Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
"It's quiet, it's winter, it's night, and a boy can't sleep. He makes his way to the living room, where his father sits, not listening to the radio; he holds his son, and they discuss the birds and foxes outside. 'Granny says the red birds are dead people,' the boy tells readers, a line that rings out like a shot. Then the silence and the gaping sense of absence in Torseter's ink-scratched, cut-paper dioramas become clearer. 'Is Mommy asleep?.... She'll never wake up again?' the boy asks when they go out into the snow to look at the stars. Lunde's first book to be published in the U.S. doesn't soften the way that the death of a parent and spouse irrevocably alters life. His writing is lovely in its spareness, but also hard-edged, even in the story's many moments of tenderness ('We look straight into each other's eyes. His eyes, black as night, are dark and deep in his face'). Pain is never far from the surface, yet when the boy's father assures him, 'Everything will be all right,' in the final scene, readers will believe him. Ages 4 — up." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In this quiet, sad, but ultimately incandescent picture book, we meet a gentle, steady father who calms his anxious son.
About the Author
Stein Erik Lunde: Born in 1953, Stein Erik Lunde has written 16 books, mostly for children and young adults. His books have been published in Sweden, Denmark, The Faroe Islands, Germany and France. This is his first book to be published in the United States. He also has written lyrics for more than a hundred songs and has translated Bob Dylan into Norwegian. Over the past 14 years, Lundes books have received many awards. In 2009, My Fathers Arms Are A Boat was awarded the Norwegian Ministrys Culture Prize for the Best Book for Children and Youth.
My Fathers Arms Are A Boat was also nominated for the 2011 German Childrens Literature Award (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis).
Øyvind Torseter: Born in 1972, Øyvind Torseter is an artist and one of Norways most acclaimed illustrators. He employs both traditional and digital picture techniques and has made five picture books on his own and several together with different authors. Torseter has received numerous prizes for his books, including the Bologna Ragazzi Award, the Norwegian Ministry of Cultures prize for the Best Book for Children and Youth (for 5 different books, including this one), and the Most Beautiful Book Award” for best picture book, also for five different books. In 2011, he received the Norwegian Book Art Prize. For 2012, he has been nominated for the ALMA Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Kari Dickson: Translator.
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