Tag Archives: sports

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

 

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Patina by Jason Reynolds

Patina by Jason Reynolds. August29, 2017. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 233 p. ISBN: 9781481450188.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 4.6; Lexile: 710.

Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?

Sequel to: Ghost

Part of Series: Track (Book 2)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Video Reviews

Reviews

Booklist starred (August 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 22))
Grades 5-8. When Patina “Patty” Jones, the fastest girl on the Defenders track team, comes in second place in a race—a fact she finds unacceptable—her rage is so intense that she mentally checks out. In an effort to make her into a team player, Coach assigns her to the 4×800 relay race and makes the relay team do hokey things like waltz in practice to “learn each others’ rhythms.” Pfft. Meanwhile, Patty feels completely out of place at her rich-girl academy. And then there’s the really hard stuff. Like how her father died, how her mother “got the sugar” (diabetes) and it took her legs, and now Patty and her little sister live with their aunt Emily and uncle Tony. Reynolds’ again displays his knack for capturing authentic voice in both Patty’s inner monologues and the spoken dialogue. The plot races as fast as the track runners in it, and—without ever feeling like a book about “issues”—it deftly tackles topics like isolation, diverse family makeup, living with illness, losing a parent, transcending socioeconomic and racial barriers, and—perhaps best of all—what it’s like for a tween to love their little sister more than all the cupcakes in the world. The second entry in the four-book Track series, this serves as a complete, complex, and sparkling stand-alone novel.

Horn Book Magazine (November/December, 2017)
Back for the second leg of the Track series relay, the Defenders team has passed the baton to title character Patina, nicknamed Patty. First introduced to readers in Ghost (rev. 11/16), Patty has been forced to grow up quickly. After her father dies suddenly, Patty’s role in raising her younger sister Maddy grows larger as their mother gets ill and ultimately becomes a double amputee due to complications from diabetes. While moving in with their godparents, who have adopted them both, has relieved some of the pressure, Patty is not always certain how to relinquish her role as caregiver. She takes it upon herself to braid Maddy’s hair (as opposed to letting their adoptive mother, Momly, do it) because “ain’t no rule book for white people to know how to work with black hair.” Patty pushes Ma in her wheelchair to and from church on Sundays. She does all the work on her group project at school, and angrily counts her second-place ribbon at a track meet as “fake.” At some point, Momly reminds her, “Folks who try to do everything are usually avoiding one thing.” Those words ring true when an almost-tragedy strikes the household and Patty is forced to face the “thing”–the loss she feels at the death of her father–and start to trust others. For his first book featuring a female protagonist, Reynolds has done an excellent job of providing insights into the life of an African American middle schooler. Track scenes (and drama) are interspersed with home and school scenes (and drama); and as the new girl at an elite academy, Patty’s interactions with her vapid “hair-flipper” classmates, especially, are both humorous and authentic. eboni njoku

About the Author

After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it all before he gets home. His website is www.jasonwritesbooks.com.

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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.

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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

 

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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

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The Quarterback Whisperer on Amazon

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Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo

Auma’s Long Run by Ecuabeth Odhiambo. September 1, 2017. Carolrhoda Books, 304 p. ISBN: 9781512427844.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 4.8; Lexile: 740.

Auma loves to run. In her small Kenyan village, she’s a track star with big dreams. A track scholarship could allow her to attend high school and maybe even become a doctor. But a strange new sickness called AIDS is ravaging the village, and when her father becomes ill, Auma’s family needs her help at home. Soon more people are getting sick even dying and no one knows why. Now Auma faces a difficult choice. Should she stay to support her struggling family or leave to pursue her own future? Auma knows her family is depending on her, but leaving might be the only way to find the answers to questions about this new disease.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild sexual themes, Corporal punishment, Negative attitudes toward people with HIV/AIDS, Frank discussion of STIs, Attempted sexual assault

 

Reviews

Booklist (August 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 22))
Grades 6-8. In her impressive debut, Odhiambo throws readers into a bustling nineties Kenyan village with this in-depth look at family grief. Auma is 13 and in year seven at her primary school. She loves running, has dreams of leaving Koromo to go to high school on a track scholarship, and wants to be a doctor. But when her baba (father), looking thinner, returns early from his job in Nairobi, and more people in her village start dying, Auma starts questioning everything she knows. Then her father dies, and Auma must decide whether to continue her schooling or work to feed her family. By the end of the novel, Auma is 15, but she’s grappling with decisions that would overwhelm most adults. In this gut-wrenching look at the AIDS epidemic in Kenya in the nineties, Odhiambo flawlessly weaves Kenyan tradition and culture with appropriate preteen problems (discussing crushes, competing in track meets). A detailed fictionalized portrayal of the effects of a very real disease, this novel would be an excellent asset to classrooms everywhere.

Kirkus Reviews starred (July 15, 2017)
In Odhiambo’s debut novel, a young girl faces a difficult decision when AIDS hits her Kenyan village. Born “facedown,” 13-year-old Auma knows she’s destined for great things. As one of the fastest runners in school, track is her ticket to getting a scholarship to continue her education. But in her village of Koromo, people are dying at an alarming rate from a disease called AIDS, and few people really know why. Auma’s dream is to become a doctor and help those afflicted. When first her father becomes ill and then her mother soon after, Auma is left shouldering the responsibility of caring for her family. Grades and running begin to take a back seat to feeding her family, and Auma must find the strength to follow her dreams, no matter how impossible they seem. In Auma, Odhiambo draws from her own experiences of growing up in Kenya during the beginning of the AIDS crisis to present a strong, intelligent protagonist who questions and refuses to give in to what is normally accepted. Auma treats readers to beautiful descriptions of the world around her but also gives them a candid look at the fear and superstition surrounding AIDS in its early days in Kenya as well as the grief of loss. All of the characters are black. Honestly told, Auma’s tale humanizes and contextualizes the AIDS experience in Kenya without sensationalizing it. (Historical fiction. 10-14)

About the Author

Eucabeth Odhiambo is a professor of teacher education at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.  As a classroom teacher she has taught all grades between kindergarten and middle school.

Auma’s Long Run is her first novel.

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42 Is Not Just a Number by Doreen Rappaport

42 Is Not Just a Number by Doreen Rappaport. September 5, 2017. Candlewick Press, 128 p. ISBN: 9780763676247.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 6.9.

An eye-opening look at the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and became an American hero.

Baseball, basketball, football — no matter the game, Jackie Robinson excelled. His talents would have easily landed another man a career in pro sports, but such opportunities were closed to athletes like Jackie for one reason: his skin was the wrong color. Settling for playing baseball in the Negro Leagues, Jackie chafed at the inability to prove himself where it mattered most: the major leagues. Then in 1946, Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, recruited Jackie Robinson. Jackie faced cruel and sometimes violent hatred and discrimination, but he proved himself again and again, exhibiting courage, determination, restraint, and a phenomenal ability to play the game. In this compelling biography, award-winning author Doreen Rappaport chronicles the extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson and how his achievements won over — and changed — a segregated nation.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence, Racism and racist language

 

Reviews

Booklist (September 1, 2017 (Vol. 114, No. 1))
Grades 5-7. Early on, young Jackie Robinson was taught to fight back when faced with racial slurs and prejudice, and he did, first as one of the few black kids in his neighborhood and later as one of the few black officers on his army base. But those injustices and the indignities he endured while playing for Negro league baseball were dwarfed by the hostility shown by many white players and fans when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. While children’s books on Jackie Robinson are plentiful, this well-researched, concise biography clearly shows the extraordinary burdens he carried and recognizes his significance as an agent of change within American society. A Dodgers fan as a child during the Robinson years, Rappaport offers an engaging account of the man’s life and presents enough background information about American racism during the 1930s and 1940s to help young readers understand the depth of his courage and the magnitude of his achievement as “a one-person civil rights movement.”

Kirkus Reviews (June 1, 2017)
A tribute to a man who spoke out forthrightly against racial injustice—until, on a larger stage, he let his deeds do the talking.Beginning with a childhood exchange with a neighbor (she hurls the N-word at him thrice; he responds with “cracker”), Rappaport focuses on her subject’s refusal to stay silent in the face of prejudicial treatment in youth and during his military career. This has the effect of underscoring the strength of character he displayed in controlling his reactions to the vicious provocations of fans and fellow players once he broke professional baseball’s color line, setting readers up for a nicely contextualized understanding of his career. Unfortunately, she ends her account with the 1947 World Series and in a cursory summation barely mentions the rest of Robinson’s achievements in baseball and after. This, along with the lack of photos or even a stat box in the backmatter, gives the profile a sketchy feel next to Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America, by his daughter, Sharon Robinson (2004)—a title that is included in the perfunctory list of suggested further reading—or any of the several more complete, better packaged appreciations of his life, times, and legacy available. A pinch hitter, at best, behind a strong lineup of competitors. (timeline, endnotes, index) (Biography. 10-13)

About the Author

Doreen Rappaport is the author of more than fifty books for children, including Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust; Lady Liberty: A Biography, illustrated by Matt Tavares; and Martin’s Big Words, illustrated by Bryan Collier. Doreen Rappaport lives in upstate New York.

Her website is dorreenrappaport.com

Teacher Resources

42 Is Not just a Number Discussion Guide

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Toni by LJ Alonge

Toni by LJ Alonge. June 20, 2017. Grosset & Dunlap, 128 p. ISBN: 9780515158014.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: 4.7; Lexile: 770.

A street-smart, action-packed basketball series with action on and off the court.

Toni isn’t Coach Wise’s favorite player on Team Blacktop. Honestly, she’s not even in his top five. And if she’s being real, her own teammates keep siding with him during practice.

But this isn’t the first time she’s been on her own, and it won’t be the last. If you can’t count on yourself, who can you count on?

Sequel to: Frank

Part of Series: Blacktop (Book 4)

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Violence, Underage drinking, Smoking, Criminal culture

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 2017)
The Blacktop series continues on the basketball courts of Oakland, California. Several of her friends have been featured in this series, and now it’s Toni’s turn in the spotlight. She is black and “one tough-ass chick,” but she’s lonely and troubled, and her behavior threatens the whole team. She argues with the coach and is sometimes violent and sometimes too distracted to be a reliable teammate. She is not one to be played with, but that phrase can be taken two ways: opponents are scared to mess with her, and her own teammates can’t play with her when she’s out of control. Other teams don’t want to play her team anymore. Toni’s voice in the first-person narrative comes across as feisty at first, but it turns out she’s not a reliable narrator; she is too self-centered and defensive to listen to what others tell her. Toni has always loved drawing and the art of Rivera, Basquiat, and Kahlo, and readers might predict that art will be her salvation, but her story doesn’t go that way; if there is hope for Toni, it will be on the basketball court. In each volume, Alonge has successfully created well-rounded characters who team up for a multicultural portrait of basketball culture in Oakland; this is no exception. A fine story for sports fans and anyone in the mood for a fast, character-driven read. (Fiction. 10-16)

About the Author

LJ Alonge has played pick-up basketball in Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, Kenya, South Africa and Australia. Basketball’s always helped him learn about his community, settle conflicts, and make friends from all walks of life. He’s never intimidated by the guy wearing a headband and arm sleeve; those guys usually aren’t very good. As a kid, he dreamed of dunking from the free throw line. Now, his favorite thing to do is make bank shots. Don’t forget to call “bank!”

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Inside Hudson Pickle by Yolanda Ridge

Inside Hudson Pickle by Yolanda Ridge. September 5, 2017. Kids Can Press, 256 p. ISBN: 9781771386203.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 4.8; Lexile: 660.

Cut from AAA hockey last season, seventh-grader Hudson Pickle needs to make the basketball team this year. But, after having an asthma attack at the first tryout, his chances aren’t looking good. His former best friend, Trevor, is also trying out. But he won’t even speak to Hudson since Hudson had all but ignored him while concentrating on hockey. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, now his uncle Vic — who’s been staying with him and his mom since a suspicious fire at his house —has been diagnosed with a genetic respiratory illness. Could this mean Hudson has something worse than asthma? And while this DNA mystery is being unraveled, will the truth about what happened to his father finally be revealed as well?

Yolanda Ridge’s compelling coming-of-age novel for middle-graders combines humor, action and mystery — with a dose of genetic science to keep things interesting. It offers a rich reading experience with complex characters and a multilayered story. Thoughtful, authentic and likeable Hudson will inspire readers with the grit and perseverance he relies on to get through his difficulties, and the self-deprecating wit he uses to manage middle-school social dynamics, evolving friendships and a changing family structure. There are also multiple mysteries running throughout the story — involving Hudson’s father, his uncle and his own health — that are sure to keep the pages turning.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Drugs and drug overdose, Suicide

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2017)
A middle schooler struggles to reconcile family secrets, his asthma, and his love of sports and firefighting. White, sports-obsessed seventh-grader Hudson Pickle is frustrated with his life. After his asthma held him back a grade and he was removed from his hockey team due to a massive growth spurt, Hudson feels anxious. He’s lost touch with his two close friends, and without his team he feels even more socially adrift. Desperate not to let his body define him, he anxiously trains for basketball tryouts and stubbornly researches firefighting as his dream career. When his uncle moves in with Hudson and his mom, Hudson’s world is shaken up: 30-something Vic is an eccentric rocker whose unusual levels of fatigue and erratic behavior make Hudson nervous. Vic’s stay pushes more questions to the surface for Hudson: is Vic a drug addict? How did Hudson’s baby brother die when Hudson was 2? Who was Hudson’s father? Hudson’s mom firmly refuses to share any information, but Hudson is determined to find answers, no matter what. Hudson’s first-person narration doesn’t always feel authentically like an American teenager’s (he lives in western New York), with occasional outdated slang and Canadian vocabulary that doesn’t fit. Heavy-handed similes and an extremely tidy conclusion further drag down the narrative. Such stronger middle-grade narratives interweaving sports and life’s struggles as Newbery winner The Crossover and newcomer Shamini Flint’s Ten (2017) mean this one can stay on the bench. (Fiction. 8-12)

School Library Journal (July 1, 2017)
Gr 5-7-A serviceable coming-of-age story about family, bullying, sports, and crushes in middle school. When Hudson’s uncle Vic’s apartment catches fire, Hudson’s mom invites Vic to live with them. Hudson is adjusting after being cut from an AAA hockey team and trying to salvage his friendships after being a jerk the year prior. Hudson has trouble talking about his feelings, especially since his mother avoids discussing family issues-mainly, who Hudson’s father is and where he lives. When Hudson’s teacher assigns the students a presentation about their future career choices, Hudson has to decide what he should pursue, which leads him on an emotional roller coaster, with his uncle along for the ride. The narrative tackles a variety of topics: asthma, a fire investigation, amateur sleuthing, and Hudson’s attempts to figure out why words never come out right when he talks to his basketball practice teammate Willow. Readers will enjoy this fast-paced book about awkward middle school adventures, the mysteries of genetics, and one boy’s efforts to cope with dark family secrets. While the characters are not particularly memorable, the journey is. VERDICT Fans of novels about sports and family drama, such as Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover, will appreciate this realistic tale.-Jessica Bratt, Grand Rapids Public Library, M

About the Author

Yolanda Ridge worked as a genetic counselor before becoming a writer — a background which helped to inform and enrich Hudson Pickle’s character and story. She is also the author of two previous middle grade novels, Trouble in the Trees and Road Block.

Yolanda lives in the mountains of interior British Columbia with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or crafting her next work of fiction on her treadmill desk, you’ll find her fighting the weeds in her yard or tackling the wilderness by bike. Her website is www.yolandaridge.com

Around the Web

Inside Hudson Pickle on Amazon

Inside Hudson Pickle on Goodreads

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Inside Hudson Pickle Publisher Page

Ten: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint

Ten: A Soccer Story by Shamini Flint. June 20, 2017. Clarion Books, 176 p. ISBN: 9780544850019.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 4.6; Lexile: 770.

In Malaysia in 1986, soccer is “a boys’ game,” but ardent soccer fan Maya, age 12, trains herself in soccer skills and pulls together a team at her (girls’) school. Despite all odds, she wins not just an important game but a chance to go to England and watch her favorite pro team play at Wembley—and incidentally make an unsuccessful attempt to pressure her dad into rejoining the family

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Racial taunts, Smoking

 

Reviews

Kirkus Reviews (February 15, 2017)
A funny, heartwarming story about a young girl who learns to manage (other people’s) expectations and make her dreams come true. Ten-year-old Maya believes she’s found her calling. She’s going to be a professional soccer star (never mind that she’s never even kicked a ball) or at least marry one! However, the odds are stacked against her. She lives in a conservative seaside town in Malaysia. She’s born to a mother of Indian descent and a white English father, solidifying her status as a misfit. And her grandmother is always harping on her to be a good Indian girl—and good Indian girls don’t play soccer. Although her schoolmates at her all-girls convent school reject soccer as a boy’s sport, Maya perseveres and eventually recruits enough players to make a team. However, she realizes that playing soccer is the least of her problems. One day, Maya’s parents drop a bombshell, devastating her. To bring her family back together, Maya comes up with an outrageous plan that involves London’s Wembley Stadium, the Brazilian soccer team, and all the courage she can muster. Aside from the multiple metaphors only an ardent soccer fan could love, Flint injects humor effortlessly into her prose. Add the antics of a spunky main character and short and sweet chapters for a fast-paced, entertaining read. Universal themes of grappling with race, fitting in, and dealing with divorce help this story transcend cultural boundaries. (Fiction. 8-12)

About the Author

Shamini Flint lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. She began her career in law in Malaysia and also worked at an international law firm in Singapore. She travelled extensively around Asia for her work, before resigning to be a stay-at-home mum, writer, part-time lecturer and environmental activist, all in an effort to make up for her ‘evil’ past as a corporate lawyer!

Shamini writes children’s books with cultural and environmental themes including Jungle Blues and Turtle takes a Trip as well as the ‘Sasha’ series of children’s books. She also writes crime fiction featuring the rotund Singaporean policeman, Inspector Singh. Singh travels around Asia stumbling over corpses and sampling the food …

Her website is www.shaminiflint.com

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Ten: A Soccer Story on Amazon

Ten: A Soccer Story  on Goodreads

Ten: A Soccer Story  on JLG

Ten: A Soccer Story  Publisher Page

Point Guard by Mike Lupica

Point Guard by Mike Lupica. April 4, 2017. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 272 p. ISBN: 9781481410038.  Int Lvl: 3-6; Rdg Lvl: 5.7; Lexile: 810.

Gus and Cassie have always been on the same team off the field, but in this third novel in New York Times bestselling author Mike Lupica’s Home Team series can they stay friends when they’re on the same court?

Everyone assumes that Gus, whose family is from the Dominican Republic, is a baseball guy. But this year Gus is even more excited about basketball than any other sport he’s ever played. He’s been practicing some new moves and lately he’s more surprised when he misses his shot than when he scores. Plus now that he’s convinced his friend Teddy to try out for the team and Jack’s shoulder is healed, it looks like Walton’s home team will be unstoppable.

But this isn’t going to be the season Gus expected, because their team is getting a new player—and she just happens to be one of his best friends. Gus knows Cassie is more than good enough to compete on the boys’ team, and besides they really do need a point guard, so why isn’t he able to shake the feeling that she belongs on their bleachers rather than their bench? And to make matters worse, with their center Steve Kerrigan constantly making comments about his Dominican heritage, and Steve’s dad voicing his views on immigration as he runs for office, Gus is starting to wonder if he really belongs in Walton after all.

Can Gus find a way to bring the home team together both on and off the court, or will all these prejudices block their shot at a winning season?

Part of Series: Home Team

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language, Racial taunts, Discrimination, Bullying

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 9))
Grades 5-8. Lupica trots his Home Team ensemble out onto the court for a whirl of fast-break hoops action threaded with provocative personal issues. Gus Morales is upset when his intensely competitive friend Cassie tries out for the boys’ town basketball team. To Cassie and everyone else, his disturbance reads as a case of prejudice—an accusation he stoutly denies. Cassie’s vitriolic refusal to talk things out and some of her behavior after she makes the team only solidifies Gus’ suspicion that she’s out to win at any cost rather than be the best teammate (or friend) that she can be. Is he right or just rationalizing? Is her attitude justified or just a sign of selfishness? Lupica leaves it to readers to decide (and perhaps give their own buried attitudes a fresh once-over) as he carries the Walton Warriors through a series of dramatic last-second wins and losses. A subplot featuring racially charged local and student elections that directly mirror 2016’s ugly presidential campaign will, hopefully, become less topical over time.

About the Author

Mike Lupica is the author of multiple bestselling books for young readers, including the Home Team series, QB 1HeatTravel TeamMillion-Dollar Throw, and The Underdogs. He has carved out a niche as the sporting world’s finest storyteller. Mike lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. When not writing novels, he writes for Daily News (New York) and is an award-winning sports commentator.

His website is www.mikelupicabooks.com.

Teacher Resources

Point Guard Reading Guide

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Point Guard on Amazon

Point Guard on Goodreads

Point Guard on JLG

Point Guard Publisher Page