Sunday, January 29, 2012

Balls, Bats and Boys

Maybe it's the 49ers loss, maybe it's because I see all the kids in their basketball jerseys, maybe it's because I just need to get my kids outside more, but I have been thinking sports.  One of my sons would only read sports books when he started chapter books, so I have developed a soft spot for this genre.  Matt Christopher and Mike Lupica are wonderful authors and they have dominated the world of sports books, so I thought I would share a few from some other authors that are also great reads.

Hope your sports obsessed child enjoys them as much as mine!  Don't forget to "like" One Great Book on Facebook!

Title:          Airball, My Life in Briefs
Author:      L.D. Harkrader
Target:       Grades 3-6
Series:         No
What this book is about:
Kirby Nickel loves basketball, he just isn’t a very good player.  However, Kirby jumps at the chance to join the middle school team when hometown hero and NBA star Brett McGrew invites the team to his college alma matter.  The team has to improve before the big meeting and the new coach’s radical plan to improve the kids involves playing in their briefs.  Kirby sticks with it, hoping to have the chance to meet Brett, who he secretly thinks may be his long lost father.
Why I love this book:
Middle school boys have to play basketball in their underwear!  Really, how can you not giggle at that!  Some of the scenes that Harkrader has written are laugh out loud funny.  Kirby is also such a likable character.  His perseverance, and how the whole team works together, give some good life lessons from sports.
Who is it for:
Boys who like sports but are also ready for a good story.  Basketball is simply the vehicle for this piece of fiction, and is not the sole focus of this book.  Basketball may get them to pick the book up, the touching and funny story will keep them engaged.
Final Thoughts:
A slam dunk

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: Airball: My Life in Briefs

Title:          Honus and Me (A Baseball Card Adventure series)
Author:      Dan Gutman
Target:       Grade 4-6
Series:         Yes
What this book is about:
Joe Stoshack lives for baseball.  Imagine finding the most valuable baseball card in the world when cleaning your neighbor’s attic, and then discovering that the card can not only bring the player here, but take you back in time to the 1909 World Series!  What would you learn from this ballplayer, and would you return the card to your neighbor, or keep it for yourself?
Why I love this book:
This is a fabulous book for baseball lovers.  I was amazed at how much information about baseball (playing the game, stats, players, equipment) was fit into a 127 page book!  Not only that, but you get a lesson on doing the right thing!  It felt like I was at the 1909 World Series, and I really was able to understand the differences between baseball back then and today.  Also loved that the author gives a little tutorial at the end about what is fact and fiction in the story.
Who this book is for:
Baseball lovers will eat this book up!
Final thoughts:
Home run (you just knew I had to write that!)

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: Honus and Me: A Baseball Card Adventure

Title:          Heart of a Champion
Author:      Carl Deuker
Target:       Grades 6-10
Series:        No, but this author has written many sports books
What this book is about:
Seth, a middle school boy whose father passed away, befriends Jimmy, a boy who is baseball obsessed.  The book covers their friendship through high school where Jimmy is the team star and Seth continues to love and struggle with the game.  Their friendship endures despite the differences in their talent, the breakup of Jimmy’s family due to alcoholism, and testing their limits as teenagers.
Why I loved it:
This book is extremely good.  I loved the messages it sent about working hard and being committed to something.  I loved the fact that this book was set just out side of Los Altos.  I loved that the baseball in the book is compelling and that I got completely wrapped up in how the game is played.   But most of all I loved that the book does not have an easy ending with everything wrapped up with a neat little bow.  It challenges our ideas of success.
Who this book is for:
This is a middle school book!   The situations the characters find themselves in are mature.  Additionally, there is limited swearing and drinking in this book, and while it is in no way glorified, quite the opposite, you need to decide what is appropriate for your child and when.
This book is also for any child who loves the game of baseball!
Final thoughts:
Being your best doesn’t always mean being the best.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here: Heart of a Champion

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