Teens in Sports

If you love sports, whether it’s watching or playing, you’ll love these fantastic new novels involving teens playing their favorite games. Check these out also for a dose of romance and social justice.

In Kneel by Candace Buford, Marion and Rus are hassled by their white adversaries at the football game, insults and fists fly, and Marion is arrested. Rus knows he didn’t start it, so when he takes a knee at the next game, he is surprised to see how many people – including his coach and his parents – do not support him.

Crystal Frasier’s graphic novel Cheer Up! follows old friends Annie (who is really antisocial) and Bebe (who is trans). They need extracurriculars to round out their transcripts, so they both join the cheerleading squad. Can the rest of the squad learn to like Annie, and also to quit treating Bebe like a mascot?

A.L. Graziadei’s novel Icebreaker focuses on Mickey, who plays hockey mainly because it’s what his dad and grandfather played. When he meets Jaysen, his rival, he feels he may have more interesting reasons to play.

In Throw Like a Girl by Sarah Henning, Liv is kicked off her softball team for fighting, so she joins the football team, recruited by the coach’s son and starting quarterback. Can she take his place, and can she manage her growing feelings for him?

In Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones, Chanel and Eleanor’s friendship is off to a rocky start of the season when their cheer squad takes a knee and each girl must face different responses and consequences.

Continue reading “Teens in Sports”

Fall sports season is here

Fall sports season is underway! The Seahawks (football) kick off their season on Sept 12, the Mariners (baseball) are making a run for the playoffs, with the OL Reign (women’s soccer) likely headed to playoffs and the Sounders (men’s soccer) making a last push for a playoff spot. If all the excitement has you wanting more, delve into one of these books on the history, personalities, and art of sports.

The Forgotten First: Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley, Bill Willis, and the Breaking of the NFL Color Barrier by Keyshawn Johnson and Bob Glauber
A year before Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers and broke the color barrier in baseball, UCLA running back Kenny Washington signed with the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, breaking the color barrier in professional football. The Forgotten First chronicles the life of Washington and the other three first Black players in the NFL in 1946 (two at the LA Rams, two at the Cleveland Browns), their accomplishments, the racism they faced, and the paths they paved for the players who came after them. Continue reading “Fall sports season is here”

Books for the Young Hockey Fan

It seems everyone in Seattle has hockey fever right now – even the kids. Here’s everything you need to capture the interest of even the youngest hockey fans.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ice Clash, by Emma Carlson Berne. Their losses started when their new coach replaced 12-year-old Louise with his own son, refusing to accept that the team’s true star was a girl. Grades 4-6.

Breaking the Ice, by Nancy Bullaro. The inspiring true story of Manon Rhéaume who became the first woman to play in a major North American sports league when she hit the ice in 1992 for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Grades 2-3.

Glory on Ice: A Vampire Hockey Story, by Maureen Fergus. In this charming, offbeat picture book, 800-year-old Vlad finds a new lease on the afterlife when he puts on the pads and hits the ice at his local community center. Grades 1-2.

What is the Stanley Cup, by Gail Herman. This colorful history of the oldest sports trophy in the world contains all you need to know to full appreciate professional hockey’s own ‘superbowl.’ (Did you know the Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917?) Grades 4-6.

Lake Placid Miracle, by B.A. Hoena. At the height of the Cold War, a rag-tag U.S. team beat the mighty Soviet behemoth, and the crowd went wild! Here’s how it all happened. Grades 4-6. Continue reading “Books for the Young Hockey Fan”

Two Nonfiction books about the Pacific Northwest: ‘The Boys in the Boat’ and ‘The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff’

I must confess–every year I tell myself that I will try to read more nonfiction and ever year I read a bit more but perhaps not as much as I had intended.

Last year I happened to read two nonfiction titles that delve into different slices of Washington state history.

The Boys in the BoatFirst, I had heard so much about The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown. It is one of those books that has captured the spirit and the imagination of our region with a story of timeless triumph. So when a bookstore customer told me, “You need to read it–it will make your heart bigger!”–I finally took the plunge. Continue reading “Two Nonfiction books about the Pacific Northwest: ‘The Boys in the Boat’ and ‘The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff’”

Movie Mondays: What’s So Funny about Sports?

I love comedies. I don’t love sports. But I do love the sports comedy sub-genre. These four films rise to the top of the ranks in my book (along with the best sports comedy ever, Caddyshack, which I’ve blogged about previously and will probably write about again).

The Bad News Bears (1976) was a favorite of mine as a kid, though it’s really not a “family movie.” Walter Matthau stars as Coach Morris Buttermaker, the curmudgeonly down-and-out coach of a terrible little league baseball team full of foul mouthed boys. That is, until Coach recruits Amanda Whurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal), who’s pitch is good enough to turn the team’s luck around, if the rest of the team would only accept her. It’s an interesting combination of the benefits of grit and perseverance alongside cynicism and lots of rude, crude (but funny) humor. Continue reading “Movie Mondays: What’s So Funny about Sports?”