Archives for posts with tag: sports

9781599902845I know I’m getting in a bit of a rut with the age titles. It’s so much easier, but not as helpful when you’re looking for subject recommendations. My goal over the next couple of weeks is to go back and add subject references to the blog titles. For today, however, Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes is good for a kid who enjoys sports and is on the cusp of adolescence (Bloomsbury, $15.99). Joylin plays basketball. Her younger brother Caden is an artist. I’m always a fan of books that push gender boundaries and show young readers that what it means to be a girl or boy isn’t as clear cut as some would have you believe. The kids’ dad has a difficult time with his non-athletic son, although he is rather supportive of his daughter’s talent, and both kids struggle to align themselves what the perceived norms of their respective gender. Caden tries to learn basketball to impress his father and Joylin tries wearing skirts, heels, and lipstick to impress a boy. She’s just as surprised at her newfound interest as anyone: “There are suddenly // cute boys everywhere. //  I swear.// They keep popping up // all the time”. She’s never cared about clothes or giggling before and she’s not exactly sure what kind of girl she wants to be now. Caden basically embarrasses himself on the court and Joylin usually ends up literally falling all over herself in front of Santiago — not quite the impression she’s going for. Written in free verse, Joylin’s flowing narrative voice is pitch perfect. She navigates the highs and lows of early adolescence with her two best friends KeeLee and Jake and when she questions “Where is a parallel universe // when you need one?”, I had to smile. Ah, middle school. How many times did I have that thought, although never quite so poetic!

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Author Michelle Sinclair Colman and illustrator Nathalie Dion have devised an adorable series of board books published by Tricycle Press ($6.95). Anyone shopping for a new baby gift is sure to find one that will appeal to the parents of the new addition, because the books highlight all sorts of personalities, trends, and interests of today’s parents: Beach Babies Wear Sunglasses, Urban Babies Wear Black, Jet Set Babies Wear Wings, Sporty Babies Wear Sweats, Artsy Babies Wear Paint, Rocker Babies Wear Jeans, Eco Babies Wear Green, Foodie Babies Wear Bibs, Country Babies Wear Plaid, and of course, Winter Babies Wear Layers. Dion’s illustrations put a baby spin on Colman’s words that any parent will recognize. Winter babies may make angels, but the baby shown on that particular page is anything but. It’s a cute series; the babies represent a range of ethnicities although culturally these books are definitely American. But you see what I mean, right? We all have foodies, artists, frequent flyers, environmentalists, musicians, outdoorsy types, and sports enthusiasts in our lives. Your New York friends will smile knowingly at Urban Babies, your California friends will appreciate Beach Babies, and Winter Babies is perfect for anyone who lives somewhere up North, or wishes they did.

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