Everyone needs inspiration from time to time. Sometimes inspiration comes from things we can’t help but notice. Other kinds of inspiration can come from more subtle experiences, which often happens when you read good books.
Make it your mission to inspire kids. Read them a book (or two or three) every day.
Books to borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
“Shy Charles” written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, Dial Books for Young Readers, 28 pages
Read aloud: age 2 – 3.
Read yourself: age 6 – 7.
Charles was a happy little boy. He was also painfully shy. He wouldn’t talk to the next-door neighbor girl, wouldn’t answer the phone and simply couldn’t say thank you to the nice lady from the neighborhood store who always gave Charles a chocolate when he and his mother came in to shop .
Exasperated, Charles’s parents decided it was time they did something about Charles’s shyness. First, they enrolled Charles in ballet. It was not a success. Then they tried football. It was a disaster. Would Charles ever be able to communicate with others, hold a job, handle himself in an emergency?
With snappy, rhyming text and wonderful, happy illustrations, this delightful story is inspiring and a genuine winner.
Library: Robesonia Community Library, 75 S. Brooke St., Robesonia
Library director: Susan Eshleman
Youth services coordinator: Leah Ruth
Choices this week: “Last to Finish” by Barbara Esham; “How Rocket Learned to Read” by Tad Hills; “Sarah, Plain and Tall” by Patricia MacLachlan
Books to buy
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
“4th & Long: A Gridiron Parable” by Garrett M. Stapleton, Kindle Edition, available on Amazon, 2022, 149 pages, $2.99
Read aloud: age 12 and older.
Read yourself: age 12 and older.
Matthew (Matty) Gordon’s father died when he was young. It was a devastating blow to his mother and him, but that wasn’t the only hurdle in Matty’s life. Born with mosaic Down syndrome, Matty was often the brunt of schoolmates pointing at him and giggling. Matty might have looked a little different from his schoolmates, but his IQ was average and he performed well as a student. However, from a social standpoint, Matty had trouble fitting in, and he missed his close relationship with his dad.
When Matty became a freshman in high school, the new teacher and football coach suggested Matty join the football team as the water boy, and Matty agreed to give it a try. Learning that he liked being part of something was good for Matty’s confidence and he also developed a close friendship with a teammate, Harry, and many of the bench warmers.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Matty. The starting quarterback, Brian Anderson, bullied Matty at every opportunity, and despite Matty being the low man in the pecking order of football hierarchy, Matty kept up with his duties and tried to avoid confrontations with Brian.
As the football season got underway, it became clear to the coach that Brian needed protection on the field to give him the space and extra seconds to complete his throws. The coach asked Matty to try out as a running back and be the one to protect Brian and help the team move towards the championship. Doing anything for Brian wasn’t high on Matty’s list, but he loved his team, agreed and excelled. What followed was a beautiful transformation, for Matty, Brian and everyone.
“4th & Long: A Gridiron Parable” incorporates a magnificent cast of characters that perfectly complement this multi-layered, redemptive, inspiring story that is certain to capture the hearts of readers, start to finish.
“Madani’s Best Game” by Fran Pintadera, illustrated by Raquel Catalina, translated by Lawrence Schimel, Eerdmans, 2022, 48 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Read aloud: ages 5 – 8.
Read yourself: ages 7 – 9.
The whole neighborhood knew that Madani played the best soccer they’d ever seen. Every Saturday, spectators would marvel at Madani’s soccer skills, and that he played barefoot. Everyone wondered how much better a soccer player Madani might be if he had cleats like all the other players.
For some time, Madani had been saving money in a metal tin. He tells his friends that when the tin is full he’ll go downtown shopping and when he does, the soccer games will be better than ever. His friends think Madani will buy cleats, but what Madani actually does is something no one expected.
A fun and beautiful story of friendship, soccer, love and persistence, “Madani’s Best Game” brims with inspiration.
Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at [email protected]