Tag Archives: sports

The Stone Thrower












The Stone Thrower

by Jael Ealey Richardson, illustrated by Matt James
Groundwood Books, 2016

An inspiring, true story of Chuck Ealey who excelled at football when African American’s weren’t allowed to play.

A young boy living in the poor section of town, entertained himself by throwing rocks at the N on the N & W train cars that passed near his home.  At first he missed, but he taught himself how to hit the moving target every time.  His mom encouraged him to be like the trains that don’t stop until they get where they are going.  With her encouragement, he vowed to “…get out of the North End and get my education.”  In high school his coach asked him to be quarterback for his team.  He took a lot of grief for that, for many didn’t believe African Americans were smart enough to do that.  As quarterback, he won every high school game.  By 1971 he had won more games than any other quarterback in college football history.  Yet he wasn’t allowed to play on American professional teams, because of his skin color.  To achieve his dream, he left and played in Canada.

Inspiring story.  Moving illustrations are in pen and ink and splashes of bold acrylics.

Read more reviews and purchase on Amazon.

Just Kidding

Just Kidding
Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Just Kidding captures the anguish young people endure when a ‘friend’ begins to bully them.

In this story it starts on the playground, choosing up sides, and some of the others call D.J. a loser.  They say they are joking, but it doesn’t feel funny to D.J. and he leaves the game.  He begins to see how his friend Vince often makes fun of him in front of the other kids and teases him beyond what’s comfortable.  Angry and hurt, he holes up in his tree house.  His father offers help, but D.J. is hurting too much. Eventually D.J. is willing to play catch with his father and soon he shares what’s been going on.  In this case, his father helps ‘train’ D.J. to stand up to his tormenter.  When D.J. witnesses another classmate being bullied on the bus, he diverts the bullying.

When the bullying continues, D.J. and his father asked for advice from his teacher, and she explains, “Vince has somehow learned that it’s okay to say and do hurtful things to people.”  D.J. follows her advice and eventually Vince just doesn’t want to hang around D.J. and D.J. finds other friends.

Author Trudy Ludwig has several books on bullying worth checking out, including “Better Than You”, “My Secret Bully” and a comprehensive manual for kids, “Confessions of a Former Bully”, which won numerous awards, including, Mom’s Choice Gold Award and “Teens Read Too” Gold Star Award for Excellence.

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by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson
Henry Holt, 1997

If you have a basketball lover in the family, this is the book for them. The book opens in the last minute of a girl’s basketball game in which the winner will win the championship. All the dribbles, all the moves and counter moves flash across the page and the Cardinals run neck and neck with the Blue Jays. The score’s 44 to 44, with 16 seconds more to go, who will win? The Blue Jays score, Cardinals call Timeout! They huddle for the play that will win. Cardinals driving in to win, the Blue Jays try to steal, but nothing deters the Cardinals with 3 seconds to go. Faking a pass, they have one second left and must throw. They pivot and toss to the 3-point line, the crowds go wild as the last toss is made. The “Basket ball spins, arching high…Falling now, from the sky… whirling, swirling…SWISH! It’s in!” I’ve never seen a story start so fast and end so furiously. Even readers normally beyond picture books will enjoy the action.

This book is out of print; check your library for a copy.