Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

Published by Roaring Brook Press

Summary: “Buckley and his mama lived in a small wooden house by the sea. They didn’t have much, but they always had each other.” Buckley’s dad is absent, and Buckley misses him. He likes to make boats, and one day he gets the idea to send a boat with a note on it, “For Papa, Love, Buckley”. For a whole year, starting on his birthday, he designs, builds, and sends boats to sea, all for Papa. On his next birthday, he has a boat all ready when he realizes he hasn’t written a note. He goes inside to get paper from his mother’s desk. When he looks inside, he finds all the boats he has ever sent. That evening, when his mother goes to retrieve the most recent boat from the seaweed where it has drifted, she finds a note reading, “For Mama, Love, Buckley”. Ages 4-9.

Pros: This book deals with loss and love with a beautiful simplicity. Papa’s absence is never explained, which makes the story relevant to any child who has lost someone they love. The beautiful watercolors of the beach are worthy of Caldecott consideration.

Cons: This is not a book to rush. Allow plenty of time for discussion.

One thought on “Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

  1. Janet, I LOVE the sound of this book!

    I’m sure you three are having a wonderful time together. It was great talking to Christine.

    Love, M.


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