Call It Courage Teaching Activities

Call It Courage Activities

Call It Courage tells the story Mafatu, the son of the chief of Hikueru Island. As a young boy, Mafatu witnesses his mother dying in a storm. Due to this, he is terrified of the sea. This causes his father shame.

Mafatu leaves Hikueru to prove he is not a coward. First, he lives through a hurricane as he travels across the Pacific Ocean in his small canoe. Next, he makes his home on a small island. Mafatu confronts many dangers on the island. He discovers his island contains a sacred ritual temple for the eaters-of-man. Eaters-of-man are not the only danger. Mafatu is confronted by several animals. At one point, he is forced to kill a wild boar. He battles a shark who is about to kill his beloved dog Uri. Mafatu comes up against an octopus while retrieving his knife from the bottom of the ocean.

Mafatu is determined not to return home until he can prove to his father that he is brave. Has he done enough? Read Call It Courage to see if Mafatu proves his bravery.

Call It Courage Activities

Book Unit Samples

Call It Courage Novel Study Samples

This sample includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, and a constructed response question plus answer keys for Call It Courage.

Call It Courage Teaching Idea #1
Anchor Chart with Paired Student Page

Call It Courage Anchor Chart

This anchor chart compares two gods Maui and Moana. Notice in the photo, students wrote on sticky notes. Reused the anchor chart with class after class by removing the notes.

You will find the handout to complete this activity in the unit sample. If you missed the link above, here it is again.

Teaching Idea #2 ~ Comparing Book Covers

Comparing Book Covers

Compare the different book covers. Which depicts the story the best? Explain why using details from the story.

Teaching Idea #3 ~ Call It Courage Movie 

Disney created a movie version of the book in 1973. The video below is the trailer. Show the movie to pique interest in the book. 

Here are some of the main similarities and differences between the two:


  • Both the book and the movie follow Mafatu’s journey of self-discovery.
  • Both emphasize the themes of bravery, perseverance, and overcoming fear.


  • The book centers on how Mafatu overcomes fear and finds his courage, while the movie emphasizes the adventure and action aspects of the story.
  • In the book, Mafatu’s mother is supportive and loving, while in the movie, she is distant and critical.
  • Uri does not appear in the movie.
  • The book has a more serious tone. The movie is more lighthearted.
Call It Courage

Teaching Idea #4 ~ Compare and Contrast Activity

Call It Courage Anchor Chart

In this activity, students compare and contrast Call It Courage to “The Legend of Maui and the Sun.”

This legend can be compared to Call It Courage in several ways.


  • Both stories are set in Polynesia
  • The characters must face their fears and overcome obstacles.
  • Both stories highlight the importance of determination, perseverance, and bravery in the face of adversity.


  • Call It Courage is a fictional story while the legend of Maui and the Sun is a traditional tale.
  • The legend also has a more mythical and magical tone, whereas Call It Courage is more realistic.

Get the legend along with guiding questions to compare and contrast plus the answer key. The are on editable Google Slides.

See the product that inspired this post.

Call It Courage Novel Study

Call It Courage Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.  

Gay Miller

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