Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sports Books for Kids

I have decided to pursue a sports theme this week.  Perhaps it is because I am feeling guilty that I did all girl books last week.  Perhaps it is because my son is in the middle of tennis season and I am hoping that he will decide to work hard on his sport because he loves it and not because his parents force him to play.  Too much information?

Well whatever the reason, this week it is all sports all the time.  From baseball to soccer to a book that covers every sport a guy could want, let the reading begin!

You can also check out more sports books I have reviewed at the following links: The Best Baseball Books Your Kids Haven't Read, and Balls, Bats and Boys.

Title:          Guys Read The Sports Pages

Edited By: Jon Scieszka

Target:       Grades 5-8

Series:        Yes, there are other topics in the Guys Read series including Humor and Thrills.

What this book is about:
This book is a set of ten short stories written by a variety of authors.  The overlying theme of each essay is sports.  The sports profiled include baseball, football, track, hockey, and basketball.

Why I love this book:
First off I love the format of ten short stories.  I think it provides a great reading experience for boys.  Many times older boys are reluctant readers or they don’t have the time to devote to a full novel.  The smaller stories mean that they can pick the book up and finish a narrative in one day, or if they don’t like one of the stories, they can just skip it.

I also enjoy so many of the authors who are featured.  Dan Gutman is a favorite of mine, and his story was the first and probably my favorite of the ten.  It focuses on the crazy rituals fans have in baseball.  One of the stories is an interview with hockey player Dustin Brown.  Hearing his journey to the NHL was really eye opening.  He talked about his failures, his hard work and what it took to make it as a professional hockey player.

I have to admit that not all the stories are created equal.  A few in the middle didn’t resonate for me.  The story of James Brown’s college recruiting will probably not be a page turner for most kids.  The track and field piece was a bit underdeveloped and the abuse suffered by the boy in the Meat Grinder story was a little dark, but other than that, most of the pieces were funny and thought provoking.

Who this book is for:
This book is intended and written for boys, and I think it does a good job of providing a variety of reading experiences for them in one book.

Final thoughts:
The US Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year - so bringing home books that encourage our boys to read is so important.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Guys Read: The Sports Pages  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Plunked

Author:   Michael Northrop

Target:    Grades 4-6

Series:     No

What this book is about:
Jack loves baseball, it is what defines him.  When he wins the coveted starting position in left field in his last year in the Little League Majors, he knows this will be a great season.  However, a routine at bat leads to Jack being hit in the face by a wild pitch.  With his confidence shaken, he is not longer worried about keeping his starting position, but about whether or not he should be playing baseball at all.

Why I love this book:
I really liked Jack.  His voice felt real.  My son got hit in the hand by a pitch several years ago, and I remember how we had to build his confidence back, so this story especially rang true for me.  Northrop sneaks some humor into the book as well.  While I wouldn’t call it laugh out loud funny, there were parts that certainly put a smile on my face, and places were the book did not take itself too seriously!  A good thing. 

I think for boys, Jack’s confidence and concerns will ring true and that the book will speak to them.

Who this book is for:
You do have to know a little about baseball to get the most out of this book, but for boys who like sports, this book will be a good fit.

Final thoughts:
The mental aspect of sports can be just as important, if not more, than the physical game.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Plunked  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Beyond Lucky

Author:   Sarah Aronson

Target:    Grades 5-8

Series:      No

What this book is about:
Ari Fish loves soccer.  Ari Fish is extremely superstitious.  When he finds a Wayne Timco soccer card, the greatest soccer goalie to come out of Ari’s home town, he knows that luck is on his side.  Still, problems with his best friend, having a girl join their soccer team and figuring out the true value of teamwork are at the heart of this book.

Why I love this book:
Alert, the first chapter is not so good, but once you get past that, this book absolutely sucks you in so stick with it!  By the fourth chapter I did not want to put the book down.  Ari is such a likable character who works hard, doubts himself and struggles with doing the right thing.  I was totally caught up in the soccer games and the mystery left me guessing until the end.  

Who this book is for:
The soccer games were well written, so I would recommend it for kids who play, they will be able to relate to the game situations.  However, it is easy to get caught up in the story, and many of the issues of being on a team are relevant no matter what sport your child plays.

Final thoughts:
It’s a keeper (a little soccer humor for you goalies out there!)

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Beyond Lucky  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

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