Tag Archives: football

Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald

Game Canger by Tommy Greenwald. September 11, 2018. Harry N. Abrams, 304 p. ISBN: 9781419731433.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 4.1.

Thirteen-year-old Teddy Youngblood is in a coma fighting for his life after an unspecified football injury at training camp. His family and friends flock to his bedside to support his recovery—and to discuss the events leading up to the tragic accident. Was this an inevitable result of playing a violent sport, or was something more sinister happening on the field that day?

Told in an innovative, multimedia format combining dialogue, texts, newspaper articles, transcripts, an online forum, and Teddy’s inner thoughts, Game Changer explores the joyous thrills and terrifying risks of America’s most popular sport.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language

 

Reviews

Booklist (September 1, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 1))
Grades 5-8. Freshman football player Teddy Youngblood, 13, is seriously injured during a practice session before the upcoming football season. Teddy’s family, friends, and neighbors are distraught about it—it may be Teddy’s favorite sport, but it just put him into a coma. Soon, rumors begin circulating around town that Teddy’s accident was not an accident; rather, there is something suspicious afoot. Worried, Teddy’s family and friends clamor to find the truth behind the accident. Greenwald’s latest takes a fresh approach, telling the story through multiple characters and an almost free-verse style that combines inner thoughts, texts, social media feeds, newspaper articles, interview transcripts, and dialogue. Example: “Can you squeeze my hand? / Oh man / Oh man that’s perfect / Great job, Ted / Look at that.” The format presents no barrier for readers, who will rapidly adapt. Reminiscent of Mike Lupica’s Lone Stars (2017), Greenwald’s novel entertains while exposing readers to the potential risks and consequences inherent in the sport of football. Overall, a strong entry into Greenwald’s bibliography and an interesting, innovative read.

Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2018)
A young athlete lies in a coma while his family and community try to determine the cause of his injury. Thirteen-year-old Teddy Youngblood collapsed following an intense football practice. At first, the focus is on his injury and the concerns of his family and friends for his recovery. Counselors are brought in to help them with the trauma. The coach’s daughter, Camille, makes a social media page to encourage positive thoughts, but some of the posters hint that something other than a tough hit at practice caused his injury. The doctors encourage family and friends to talk to Teddy, and readers learn much through these comments. Teddy’s family is at odds. His mother, who lives apart, did not want her son to play football, while his dad supported his sports involvement. Also interspersed are Teddy’s thoughts as he lies in the hospital: “This is what life is / Life is football / Football is life.” This nontraditional narrative, using conversations, interview transcripts, text messages, hospital reports, and other documents, skillfully peels back the elements of the mystery. The issues of football’s violence are presented, but the book’s real strength is the depiction of the culture behind it. There are few descriptions to indicate the ethnic makeup of the characters (Teddy’s eyes are described as blue), implying the white default. The story will resonate with those on both sides of the debate about the role of youth football in society, and the unusual storytelling technique sets it apart from most sport fiction. (Fiction. 10-14)

About the Author

Tommy Greenwald is the author of the Crimebiters! series, about a group of friends and a (possibly) superhero crime-fighting vampire dog, and the Charlie Joe Jackson books, a middle-grade series about the most reluctant reader ever born.

Tommy is also the Co-Founder of Spotco Advertising, a theatrical and entertainment advertising agency in New York City, and the lyricist and co-bookwriter (with Andrew Lippa) of JOHN & JEN, a 1995 musical which was revived off-Broadway in 2015.

His website is tommygreenwald.com/

Around the Web

Game Changer on Amazon

Game Changer on Barnes & Noble

Game Changer on Goodreads

Game Changer Publisher Page

Advertisements

Tamba Hali by David Seigerman

Tamba Hali by Tina Connolly. November 21, 2017. Aladdin, 144 p. ISBN: 9781481482202.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 5.8.

Long before he was sacking quarterbacks, Tamba Hali was facing bigger challenges. Learn about his life in this second book in a brand-new nonfiction series about the childhoods of your favorite athletes.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali’s story seems almost unbelievable. He and his seven siblings fled war-torn Liberia to the Ivory Coast during his youth and later joined their father, a chemistry and physics professor, in New Jersey.

There Tamba played both basketball and soccer, but he didn’t discover football until a coach finally persuaded him to try out in high school. And the rest, as they say, was history. Tamba discovered that he had a real talent for it, landing him an athletic scholarship to Pennsylvania State University and a coveted spot on their football team.

Tamba went on to play in the NFL and finally brought his mother to the US from Liberia. His drive, dedication, and athletic ability are inspiring.

Part of Series: Real Sports Content Network Presents

Potentially Sensitive Areas: War

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (September 1, 2017)
The story of NFL linebacker Tamba Hali’s path from a childhood in war-torn Liberia to becoming one of the Kansas City Chiefs’ all-time greats. After a just-the-facts–style rundown of Tamba Hali’s football career (and awards), this biography’s narrative proper opens early in the Chiefs’ 2006 season; they are winless after two games and down their starting quarterback. Their bright spot is seeing first-round draft pick Tamba (the book uses his first name) in action as the rookie achieves his first NFL sack along with a forced-fumble, right in front of his newly-arrived-to-America mother, whom he hasn’t seen in over a decade. After this charged anecdote, the rest of the story flows chronologically, taking readers through the Liberian civil war that started when Tamba was only 6. Brief historical explanations of Liberia’s origins and ethnic divides contextualize, and atrocities such as the use of child soldiers are mentioned without gruesome specifics, prompting only readers ready to handle the details to research it further. After escaping the country and a 2-year-long bureaucratic process, he and his brothers are allowed to join their father in America. A fearless, hard worker, Tamba tackles literacy and football, leading to high school and Penn State successes—with the dangling carrot of an NFL career that would enable him to bring his mother to safety in America. A companion title on soccer star Becky Sauerbrunn publishes simultaneously A positive, dramatic football biography likely to encourage global and historical research. (Biography. 8-15)

School Library Journal (October 1, 2017)
Gr 4-7-This biography focuses on the youth and early career of Tamba Hali, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs. Hali, born in Gbarnga, Liberia, grew up during a devastating civil war. After years of enduring desperation and displacement, Hali and his brothers had to leave their mother behind in order to join their father in Teaneck, NJ. Assimilating into a U.S. school wasn’t easy, but it was there that Hali first encountered organized sports. He would eventually rise through the ranks of high school and college football to become a first-round NFL draft pick. Seigerman credits Hali’s success not only to his determination, but also to his coaches, from a middle school reading specialist to Pennsylvania State University football coach Joe Paterno (portrayed here as an inspiring figure, with no mention of the scandal that ended his career). The straightforward narrative drops off abruptly during Hali’s first season in the NFL, when he was finally able to bring his mother to the United States, but fans will know that his skills are still serving him well on the gridiron, where he’s recognized for his powerful sacks and tackles. VERDICT An accessible look at a dedicated athlete. Consider for collections serving football fans and those with an interest in refugee stories.-Rebecca Honeycutt, -NoveList, Durham, NC

About the Author

David Seigerman is a veteran sports journalist whose writing career began in newspapers (NewsdayThe Jackson Sun) and moved on to magazines (College Sports Magazine). In 1996, he moved from print to broadcast media, becoming a field producer for CNN/SI and later the managing editor at College Sports Television. Since 2003, he has been a freelance writer and producer, and in late 2016, he cofounded HowFarWouldYouGo.org.

He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his family.  His website is www.davidseigerman.com

Around the Web

Tamba Hali on Amazon

Tamba Hali on Goodreads

Tamba Hali Publisher Page

Touchdown Kid by Tim Green

Touchdown Kid by Tim Green. October 3, 2017. HarperCollins, 320 p. ISBN: 9780062293855.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 6.0.

Cory has always been passionate about football. But life for him and his single mom has been hard, making it difficult for Cory to play. And though Cory is a good kid, he’s constantly surrounded by negative influences. But when the coach from an elite private school with one of the best football programs in the country recognizes his talents on the field, Cory is presented with an unbelievable opportunity.

Cory knows that football could be his ticket out. But leaving to attend private school also means struggling to fit into a world where most people look at him and just see a scholarship kid from the wrong side of town. Cory knows that if he can fight hard enough—both on and off the field—he may be able to secure a bright future that looks different from his unpromising past.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Discrimination; Classism

 

About the Author

Tim Green, for many years a star defensive end with the Atlanta Falcons, is a man of many talents. He’s the author of such gripping books for adults as the New York Times bestselling The Dark Side of the Game and a dozen suspense novels, including Exact Revenge and Kingdom Come. Tim graduated covaledictorian from Syracuse University and was a first-round NFL draft pick. He later earned his law degree with honors. Tim has worked as an NFL analyst for FOX Sports and as an NFL commentator for National Public Radio, among other broadcast experience.

He lives with his wife, Illyssa, and their five children in upstate New York.  His website is timgreenbooks.com

 

Around the Web

Touchdown Kid on Amazon

Touchdown Kid on Goodreads

Touchdown Kid on JLG

Touchdown Kid Publisher Page

Backfield Boys by John Feinstein

Backfield Boys by John Feinstein. August 29, 2017. Farrar Straus Giroux, 353 p. ISBN: 9780374305925.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 840.

In Backfield Boys, renowned sports journalist and New York Times–bestselling author John Feinstein tells a thrilling story of friendship, football, and a fight for justice.

Freshman footballers Jason Roddin and Tom Jefferson are a perfect pair: Jason is a blazing-fast wide-receiver, while his best friend Tom has all the skills a standout quarterback needs. After summer football camp at an elite sports-focused boarding school, the boys are thrilled to be invited back with full-ride scholarships.

But on day one of practice, they’re shocked when the team’s coaching staff makes Tom, a black kid, a receiver and Jason, a white kid, a quarterback. Confronted with mounting evidence of deep-seated racial bias, the boys speak out, risking their scholarships and chances to play. As tensions ratchet up with coaches and other players, Tom and Jason must decide how much they’re willing to lose in a conflict with powerful forces that has nothing―and everything―to do with the game they love.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Racial taunts, Discrimination, Mild sexual themes, Racism

 

Video Review

 

About the Author

John Feinstein is the author of more than thirty books, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled. He is also the author of numerous kids mysteries. His first young adult mystery, Last Shot, won the Edgar Allen Poe Award. John also works for The Washington Post, The Golf Channel, Sirius XM Radio, and Comcast Sportsnet.

Her website is jfeinsteinbooks.com.

Around the Web

Backfield Boys on Amazon

Backfield Boys on Goodreads

Backfield Boys on JLG

Backfield Boys Publisher Page

The Quarterback Whisperer by Bruce Arians

The Quarterback Whisperer by Bruce Arians. July 11, 2017. Hachette Books, 256 p. ISBN: 9780316432269.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD.

What is an elite NFL QB and what separates that player from the others? One answer is the coach they share. In the recent history of the biggest game on earth, one man is the common thread that connects several of the very best in the sport: Peyton Manning; Ben Roethlisberger; Andrew Luck; and the resurgent Carson Palmer. That coach is Bruce Arians.

A larger than life visionary who trained under the tutelage of Bear Bryant, Arians has had a major impact on the development and success of each of these players. For proof beyond the stats, go to the sources.

Known around the game as the ‘quarterback whisperer’, Arians has an uncanny ability to both personally connect with his quarterbacks and to locate what the individual triggers are for that player to succeed. No two quarterbacks are the same. And yet with Arians they always share success. In this book Arians will explain how he does it

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Mild sexual themes, Underage drinking

 

Related Videos

 

About the Author

Bruce Arians is currently the head coach of the NFC powerhouse the Arizona Cardinals. In three years he has taken the team from last place in their division to the NFC Championship. He has also guided quarterback Carson Palmer to the best results of his long career. He has twice been named the NFL’s Head Coach of the Year.

His website is www.ariansfamilyfoundation.com

Around the Web

The Quarterback Whisperer on Amazon

The Quarterback Whisperer on Goodreads

The Quarterback Whisperer on JLG

The Quarterback Whisperer Publisher Page

The Football Fanbook by Gary Gramling

The Football Fanbook: Everything You Need to Become a Gridiron Know-it-All by Gary Gramling. August 8, 2017. Sports Illustrated, 192 p. ISBN: 9781683300076.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 7.4; Lexile: 1080.

Everything You Need to Become a Gridiron Know-it-All

So you’re a football fan and now you want to take your passion for the game to the next level? The Football Fanbook from Sports Illustrated Kids is just what you need. A key addition to every young sports fanatic’s library, The Football Fanbook is filled with fun trivia and unique lingo to impress friends, illustrated behind-the-skills how-to’s, important game-winning strategies, and much more. Readers will sound like experts in no time.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Booklist (August 2017 (Online))
Grades 5-7. This colorful book will appeal to kids who know the basics of football but want to learn more about the sport and its history. The opening chapter looks at notable stats (most career touchdowns: 208, Jerry Rice; longest field goal: 64 yards, Matt Prater; the only perfect record: 17–0, 1972 Miami Dolphins), presented with paragraphs of information and action photos. Other chapters offer “obscure facts,” tips on skills such as throwing a spiral, drafting a fantasy-league team, collecting autographs from the pros, and thinking like a coach about offensive and defensive strategies. One unique section pairs legendary players with current counterparts who play the same positions and have similar builds, skills, and styles of play, such as quarterbacks Joe Montana and Aaron Rodgers, wide receivers Jerry Rice and Odell Beckham Jr., and defensive ends Reggie White and J. J. Watt. Offering a good deal of interesting reading along with color photos on almost every page, this book works well for browsing or closer reading. A solid choice for sports collections.

School Library Journal (July 1, 2017)
Gr 5 Up-This browsable, trivia-filled title is full of useful factoids for football fans. Right from the get-go, Gramling dives into the stats and figures of the NFL, from most career touchdowns (Jerry Rice at 208) to most career rushing yards (Emmitt Smith at 18,355). Subsequent chapters cover coaching strategies, recipes for snacks, tips on how to play and/or start a fantasy team, and the history behind the Heisman Trophy, referees’ striped shirts, and more. A “Team Tidbits” section dedicates a page to each NFL team’s history and additional stats. The final chapter doubles as a football dictionary, going over game-related terms from A to Z. The bright, clean layout is visually pleasing, and the detailed, reader-friendly text effectively covers the intricacies of the sport. Unlike other volumes on the subject, the book does not rely on flashy gimmicks or graphics to hook readers, just solid information and fantastic photography. VERDICT A must-have for football fans or communities where the game is popular.-Joanne Albano, Commack Public Library, NY

About the Author

Gary Gramling is an award-winning writer and editor for Sports Illustrated, and formerly of Sports Illustrated Kids. He spent his childhood in Connecticut as a sports fanatic, rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Steelers. And, well, he never really grew up. He won SI’s first-ever Emmy award for his writing on “A Boy Helps a Town Heal,” and was the story editor on the acclaimed SI longform piece “Finding Danny Watkins.” He currently resides in southwest Connecticut with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children who are surely on their way to being smarter and more talented than he is.

His website is si.com/author/gary-gramling

Around the Web

The Football Fanbook on Amazon

The Football Fanbook on Goodreads

The Football Fanbook on JLG

The Football Fanbook Publisher Page

The Football Girl by Thatcher Heldring

The Football Girl by Thatcher Heldring. April  4, 2017. Delacorte Press, 208 p. ISBN: 9780385741835.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 540.

Team Statistics:

Caleb McCleary. QB. Following in his brother’s “baller status” footsteps.

Tessa Dooley. Any position that needs filling. Her motto: “Be afraid.”

The summer before Caleb and Tessa enter high school, friendship has blossomed into a relationship…and their playful sports days are coming to an end. Caleb is getting ready to try out for the football team, and Tessa is training for cross-country.

But all their structured plans derail in the final flag game when they lose. Tessa doesn’t want to end her career as a loser. She really enjoys playing, and if she’s being honest, she likes it even more than running. So what if she decided to play football instead? What would happen between her and Caleb? Or between Tessa and her two best friends, who are counting on her to try out for cross-country with them? And will her parents be upset that she’s decided to take her hobby to the next level?

This summer, Caleb and Tessa figure out just what it means to be a boyfriend, girlfriend, teammate, best friend, and someone worth cheering for.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Booklist (April 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 15))
Grades 8-11. Tessa loves football, and she’s been honing her skills with cute boy-next-door Caleb. She’s always accepted that she’d have to opt for something other than football, like cross-country, to participate in school sports. But now that she’s getting ready for high school, she wants to make some decisions for herself, so in spite of her demanding parents’ wishes, she insists on going to football camp. Heldring alternates between Caleb’s and Tessa’s perspectives, nicely exploring their struggles with self-determination, family conflict, and the importance of teamwork as well as their efforts to balance their burgeoning relationship with the pressures they each encounter regarding Tessa’s football dreams. Meanwhile, Tessa faces extra scrutiny—her mother is running for mayor, so her football aspirations put her at the center of a local media frenzy. Though Caleb and Tessa’s voices occasionally sound quite similar, there’s enough fast-paced football action, realistic family drama, and sweet romance in this slim novel that readers looking for girl-powered sports stories should find plenty to like.

Horn Book Magazine (March/April, 2017)
If any girl can make Pilchuck High School’s football team, it’s fourteen-year-old wide receiver Tessa Dooley. She’s fast, runs good routes, catches well, and knows how to play head games with defenders. But so far all she has played is summer-league flag football. She doesn’t know if she can handle tackle football—she’s never even worn a helmet. As the summer unfolds, she finds herself having to defend her love of the game (her parents want her to concentrate on more serious things); she also finds herself becoming the girlfriend of quarterback Caleb McCleary. In alternating first-person narratives, Tessa and Caleb give voice to their feelings about each other and about football. Though the back-and-forth, he said/she said of the narrative feels like Ping-Pong at times, it does serve to illuminate the appropriately complicated emotions both of a young romance and of pursuing a dream. Heldring writes with insight and restraint, letting complicated feelings remain complicated. There are no heroics in Tessa’s first official school game, but a satisfying performance and a realization that she has been an inspiration for a younger girl who decides she, too, wants to play football someday. Interviewed in the local paper, Tessa says, “I guess what matters is that I have a choice…Whether I play football in high school or not, I’ll never have to wonder what was possible.” As of now (according to the book), sixteen hundred girls across the country are playing high-school football and, like Tessa, pushing themselves to see what’s possible. dean schneider

About the Author

Thatcher Heldring grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where he taught himself to write and play sports—though not at the same time. Heldring has had several jobs in publishing. He has also worked as a grocery bagger, a ditchdigger, a small forward, a goalie, a scorekeeper, a coach, a rabid fan, a benchwarmer, and a shortstop. He lives with his wife and son in Seattle, a good place for indoor sports.

He is the author of Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer, Roy Morelli Steps Up to the Plate, The League, and The Football Girl.

Her website is www.spitballinc.com.

Around the Web

The Football Girl on Amazon

The Football Girl  on Goodreads

The Football Girl on JLG

The Football Girl  Publisher Page

Left Out by Tim Green

Left Out by Tim Green. September 27, 2016. HarperCollins, 352 p. ISBN: 9780062293824.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 6.3; Lexile: 800.

Perfect for fans of Mike Lupica, New York Times bestselling author and former NFL player Tim Green tells a heartfelt and moving story about a deaf boy’s journey to change how others see him—both on and off the football field.

All Landon Dorch has ever wanted was to be like everyone else. But his deafness and the way he talks have been obstacles all his life. Other kids, and even adults, have never been able to look past his disability and see the real Landon. But now, he finally sees his chance to fit in. Bigger and taller than any other seventh grader in his new school, Landon plans to use his size as his biggest asset.

In Bronxville, football reigns supreme, and what could be better for a hopeful lineman desperate to gain friends beyond his fiery little sister? Still, the same speech problems and the cochlear implants that help him hear continue haunt him. At best, his new teammates keep their distance, and when football proves harder than he thought, the coaches encourage Landon to be their oversized water boy.

Just when it looks like Landon will be left out for good, Brett Bell—a star player whose family knows about being different—becomes an unlikely friend. And the whole Bell family pitches in to help Landon, even Brett’s uncle, a New York Giants All-Pro tackle who shares some of his trade secrets. But in the end only Landon can fight his way off the bench and through a crowded field of bullies bent on seeing him forever left out.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

About the Author

Tim Green, for many years a star defensive end with the Atlanta Falcons, is a man of many talents. He’s the author of such gripping books for adults as the New York Times bestselling The Dark Side of the Game and a dozen suspense novels, including Exact Revenge and Kingdom Come. Tim graduated covaledictorian from Syracuse University and was a first-round NFL draft pick. He later earned his law degree with honors. Tim has worked as an NFL analyst for FOX Sports and as an NFL commentator for National Public Radio, among other broadcast experience.

He lives with his wife, Illyssa, and their five children in upstate New York.  His website is www.timgreenbooks.com.

Teacher Resources

Left Out Curriculum Guide

Around the Web

Left Out on Amazon

Left Out on Goodreads

Left Out on JLG

Left Out Publisher Page

Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin. January 17, 2017. Roaring Brook Press, 288 p. ISBN: 9781596439542.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 5.8.

Jim Thorpe: Super athlete, Olympic gold medalist, Native American
Pop Warner: Indomitable coach, football mastermind, Ivy League grad

Before these men became legends, they met in 1907 at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, where they forged one of the winningest teams in American football history. Called “the team that invented football,” they took on the best opponents of their day, defeating much more privileged schools such as Harvard and the Army in a series of breathtakingly close calls, genius plays, and bone-crushing hard work.

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team is an astonishing underdog sports story―and more. It’s an unflinching look at the U.S. government’s violent persecution of Native Americans and the school that was designed to erase Indian cultures. Expertly told by three-time National Book Award finalist Steve Sheinkin, it’s the story of a group of young men who came together at that school, the overwhelming obstacles they faced both on and off the field, and their absolute refusal to accept defeat.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Discrimination

 

Reviews

Booklist starred (December 1, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 7))
Grades 6-9. Though arguably best remembered as a supremely gifted track-and-field star, Native American Jim Thorpe was also a preternaturally gifted football player, as the award-winning Sheinkin demonstrates in this biography of the sports phenomenon. Sharing the stage is Pop Warner, the man who would ultimately become his coach at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School. The first part of the book is devoted to biographical material about Thorpe and Warner and colorful contextual information about Carlisle, its football team, and the state of the sport at the time (i.e., the early years of the twentieth century). With that established, the book hits its stride as Thorpe arrives at Carlisle and meets Warner. The result is history. Though never a good or willing student, Thorpe—between his prowess on the football field and his triumphs at the 1912 Olympics—became, as Sheinkin ­succinctly puts it, “the best athlete on the planet.” He evidences this with stirring accounts of Thorpe’s games, especially his white-knuckle coverage of a symbolically important 1912 matchup with Army. But even better are the psychological insights he offers into Thorpe’s character. Containing a generous collection of black-and-white period photographs, this is a model of research and documentation, as well as of stylish writing that tells an always absorbing story

Kirkus Reviews starred (November 15, 2016)
Young readers of this biography may be surprised that Jim Thorpe, an athlete they may never have heard of, was once considered “the best athlete on the planet.” Most students at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania were shocked by the treatment they received under superintendent Richard Henry Pratt, who believed white American culture was superior and to “help” his students meant to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man.” New students were given new names, new clothes, and haircuts and were allowed to speak English only. It was a harsh, alien world, and only a small percentage of students ever graduated. The child of a Sac and Fox/Irish father and Potawatomi/French-Canadian mother, Jim Thorpe grew up in a mix of white and Indian culture and was better prepared than many when he entered Carlisle at the age of 15. Sheinkin weaves complicated threads of history—the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the story of Carlisle, the early days of football, and the dual biographies of Thorpe and his coach Pop Warner—with the narrative skills of a gifted storyteller who never forgets the story in history. He is unflinchingly honest in pointing out the racism in white American culture at large and in football culture, including headlines in the newspapers (“INDIANS OUT TO SCALP THE CADETS”), preferential officiating, and war whoops from the stands. Sheinkin easily draws a parallel in the persisting racism in the names of current football teams, such as the Braves and Redskins, bringing the story directly to modern readers. Superb nonfiction that will entertain as it informs. (source notes, works cited, acknowledgments, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

About the Author

A former textbook writer, Steve Sheinkin is now making amends by writing history books that kids and teens actually want to read. His award-winning, non-fiction thrillers include Bomb, The Port Chicago 50, Most Dangerous, The Notorious Benedict Arnold, and Lincoln’s Grave Robbers. His newest book, Undefeated, tells the story of the astonishing rise of Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School football team. Steve lives with his family in Saratoga Springs, NY.

His website is www.stevesheinkin.com

Teacher Resources

Indian Boarding Schools Resources

Around the Web

Undefeated on Amazon

Undefeated on JLG

Undefeated on Goodreads