Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood From Sports Legends by David Stabler

Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports LegendsI read very few non-fiction books. However, I love sports, and this book shares interesting stories about sports superstars when they were kids. Peyton Manning says the most pressure he's ever felt was dancing the tango on stage in front of his family and friends. I had to look up the video on YouTube after reading his story! I never knew Jackie Robinson was the leader of a street gang or that Babe Ruth was sent to a reform school at age seven. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and 7' 6" Yao Ming were victims of bullies as they grew up. Babe Zaharias and Billie Jean King were discriminated against from competing in sports, because they were girls. Lionel Messi, one of the greatest soccer players in the world, needed to get growth hormone injections, because people thought he was too small to play.

The short stories are easy to read and tell the childhood challenges of male and female superstar athletes. Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, and Danica Patrick are just a few of the other athletes shared in the book. Their stories should inspire all young readers to keep trying to reach  their dreams. I liked how the book covered sports ranging from gymnastics to boxing, football to sumo wrestling, and baseball to soccer. There are stories of athletes from long ago, and stories of athletes still competing today. The short story format should appeal to young readers, since they don't need to remember the plot and all of the characters, like in a fictional novel. It's saying something when a non-fiction book can entertain and inform as well as this book. All sports fans will love it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

One of Us by Jeannie Waudby

One of UsK has no family, survives a bombing by the Brotherhood, and agrees to secretly gather information about the group for a man named Oskar. She's given the new identity of Verity and finds it hard to believe that any of the students might be capable of causing explosions and killing people. She sneaks into the leader's office to get a list of names, but she's not sure if she'll give it to Oskar. Verity doesn't know what his group will do with the names, and she's stunned to discover Oskar has given K's identity to a dead body. With a major Reconciliation Agreement looming, she doesn't know who can be trusted or who she can turn to.

The main characters were around fifteen years old, so this book is for more mature visitors to my blog. Nothing inappropriate happened, but the issues were more serious. The book made me think about how society treats organizations with different ideas. I wasn't exactly sure how to compare the groups to the real world. Oskar's people were never clearly identified until the resolution, so I wasn't sure if he was a true policeman. I wasn't sure if members of the Brotherhood were simply peaceful and misunderstood or if they were terrorists. It was hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys, but that added to the mystery. It was easy to root for K/Verity, since seemed to be used by everyone. I had my suspicions about the other characters, and the plot came to an exciting climax. It's not the kind of book I typically read, but I really enjoyed it.