Boats for Papa

by Jessixa Bagley (Author)

Boats for Papa
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Buckley and his Mama live in a cozy cabin by the ocean. He loves to carve boats out of the driftwood he finds on the beach nearby. He makes:

big boats

long boats

short boats and

tall boats, each one more beautiful than the last, and sends them out to sea. If they don't come back, he knows they've found their way to his papa, whom he misses very much.

In this stunning debut, author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley explores the subtle and deep emotions associated with loss in a heartwarming tale that is sure to stay with the reader long after the book is closed.

A Neal Porter Book

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Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Buckley, a beaver, lives with his mother at the shore. Papa isn't with them; what happened to him isn't revealed, but it's clear that mother and son are coping with a big loss. Buckley spends his days creating increasingly more elaborate boats for his father from driftwood he finds on the beach, lovingly launching each one with a note, "For Papa. Love, Buckley." "If it doesn't come back to shore," Buckley tells his mother, "I'll know he got it!" One day, Buckley discovers that all the boats have come back--and he learns something important about his mother's love as well. Bagley makes an impressive debut with this somber but never maudlin story about sadness, resilience, and an emotional coming of age. The pen-and-watercolor renderings of her two characters can feel slightly blocky and awkward, but it's a deeply empathic story with an accomplished sense of place. In beautiful tones of blue and brown, she immerses readers in the coastal world where Buckley and his mother are trying to make sense of their lives. Ages 3-7. Agent: Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary. (June)

Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Jessixa Bagley
Jessixa Bagley is an author and illustrator originally from Portland, Oregon. She spent many days in her childhood combing the Oregon Coast for the perfect sand dollar. Now, she lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband in a castle in the sky. Boats for Papa is Jessixa's first picture book.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
June 20, 2015
Age Range
4 - 7 years

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