Faraway Things by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Kelly Murphy

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Faraway Things: Eggers, Dave, Murphy, Kelly: 9780316492195: Amazon.com:  Books
Faraway Things by Dave Eggers, Kelly Murphy, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

Summary:  Lucian lives with his mother in a lighthouse and loves exploring the beach, looking for what his late father used to call “faraway things”: items washed up from the sea.  One day he finds a beautiful cutlass, and hangs it on his wall, dreaming about it at night, and playing with it on the beach the next day.  In the afternoon, a ship sails into view, and when three men disembark, Lucian learns that his cutlass belongs to the captain.  The men are unhappy because their ship is stuck on a sandbar–something they couldn’t see in the dark because the lighthouse wasn’t working.  The captain makes a generous offer, though: he’ll trade Lucian anything from the ship’s treasure room for the cutlass.  Lucian rows out to the ship with the men, and chooses a new light for the lighthouse from the treasures.  The final page shows him fitting the new light into the lighthouse, its beam shining over the sea to the ship that’s sailing away. 40 pages; grades K-5.

Pros:  A beautifully told and illustrated story that has just the right touch of fantasy while also subtly dealing with grief and loss.  The length and themes of the story would make it an excellent choice for reading aloud to older elementary students.

Cons:  Parts of the story are pretty ambiguous: what happened to Lucian’s father and to the lighthouse?

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