My Father’s Arms Are a Boat

by Stephanie Greene on April 22, 2013

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My Father’s Arms are a Boat, by Stein Erik Lunde, illustrated by Oyvind Torseter. A little boy, unable to sleep, crawls into his father’s arms on a quiet winter’s night. Will his mother come back? the boy asks. “No, not from where she is now,” his father says, and then the wise man carries the boy, warmly wrapped, outside to look at the starry, eternal night, while a red fox roams quietly through the towering, silent spruce. There is loss here, but there is tremendous love and, finally, great hope. Everything will be all right.

Lunde’s poetic, gentle picture book was awarded the Norwegian Ministry’s Culture Prize for the Best Book for Children and Youth and nominated for the 2011 German Children’s Literature Award. Torseter’s remarkable illustrations in cut paper and watercolor are spare and moving. One of Norway’s most acclaimed illustrators, Torseter has been nominated for the 2012 ALMA Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

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