Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January's Book of the Month--Boats for Papa

Happy New Year!

In BOATS FOR PAPA, by Jessixa Bagley, young Buckley lives with his mama in their small home at the beach. Every day they walk together on the sand, collecting treasures. Buckley begins making boats out of the driftwood he finds, and decides to send them to his missing papa, along with a note of love. Buckley knows that if the boats don’t come back, they must have managed to reach Papa. Buckley makes many boats and, while he still misses his papa, sending the boats helps to comfort him. The turning point in the story, when Buckley realizes that Mama has been finding his boats all along, is understated and charming.

The watercolor art emphasizes the closeness between Buckley and his mama, two plump, delicately-rendered beavers who stand in for humans. From the endpapers through the title pages and all of the spreads in-between, the art is thoughtfully and beautifully done. 

BOATS FOR PAPA manages to be a picture book about an “issue” that doesn’t hit readers over the head with its message. While it’s pretty clearly about the death of a parent, I think it would also provide comfort to a child whose parent needs to be gone for a long time.

If you haven’t yet seen it, consider giving BOATS FOR PAPA a try.



  1. I just LOVE this book and wonderfully written/illustrated. It really blessed me personally, due to losing my own father not long ago. Perfect for children to cope with and understand such losses in their life.

    SO glad I stumbled upon your blog via Twitter today!

    1. Again, thank you for your comments, Alexandra!! I'm new to getting the word out for the blog, and am thrilled you have found me. Have you heard about Jessixa's new one, Before I Leave? It looks really good, too, and I just ordered my copy!