sports, tween

The Middle School Rules of Brian Urlacher

Author: Sean Jensen
Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group
Genre: Middle grade / Sports / Football
ISBN: 978-1-4245-4979-5
Pages: 176
Price: $14.99

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Just because an NFL player has made it to the pros, it doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how he got there. In this unique biography, Sean Jensen captures some of the memorable moments of Brian Urlacher’s Middle School career.

This children’s story reads like a novel, as the timeline progresses through Urlacher’s Middle School years. Touching on basketball and football games, along with family and friendships, it shows us a snippet of this great linebacker’s life. Good sportsmanship and fair play is highlighted in a non-preachy manner.

The Middle School Rules of Brian Urlacher is part of a series of books sharing the Middle School years of sports figures. Chicago Bears fans will enjoy this look at Brian Urlacher’s Middle School career.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, sports

This Is the Day

Author: Tim Tebow
Publisher: WaterBrook
Genre: Christian inspiration
ISBN: 978-0-525-65030-0
Pages: 224
Price: $25.00

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When Tim Tebow decided to pursue a major league baseball career, many people didn’t understand. Why would a successful football player go back to the minor leagues and try to rise through the ranks? Wouldn’t it be safer to pursue a career in broadcasting, as he had the opportunity to do? But as Tim explains in This Is the Day, life isn’t always best lived by making the safe choices.

Through a series of stories, Tim shows us the times in his life where important choices needed to be made. Although he admits he didn’t always choose correctly, he recognizes that God placed him in certain situations for a reason, and it was up to him to act. Maybe we don’t always see this in our own lives, but God asks the same of us, also. If we can learn to see how important this very moment is, we can make a difference in this world.

Tim Tebow is not only a talented athlete, but also a gifted story teller. This Is the Day is an inspirational read that gives us a lot to think about. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

girls, sports, tween

Trish’s Team

Trish's Team
Author: Dawn Brotherton
Publisher: Blue Dragon Publishing
Genre: Middle-grade / Girls / Sports
ISBN: 978-1-939696-12-0
Pages: 128
Price: $5.99

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Trish loves to play softball, but her parents don’t seem to care about her interests. When an opportunity comes up for Trish to take her game to another level, she’s faced with a choice – play softball or continue with the orchestra. If the decision was left up to her parents, softball wouldn’t even be considered.

Taking matters into her own hands, Trish tries out for the Lady Tigers. But in the process of making her choice, she needs to be dishonest – something that even her new friend sees is wrong. Will Trish’s actions hurt her and the team?

Trish’s Team reinforces the fact that actions have consequences, as Trish discovers when the truth is finally revealed. But it also demonstrates that kids have opinions too, and good parents take time to listen, even if what their kids say makes them uncomfortable. Girls who love sports will relate to Trish’s dilemma and cheer for her to make the right choices.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

literary, sports


Author: Philip Beard
Publisher: Van Buren Books
Genre: Literary fiction / Baseball
ISBN: 978-0-9862474-1-5
Pages: 324
Price: $14.95

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For Henry Graham, there is no better joy than watching his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates, and he plans to share many baseball seasons with his father. But when his father unexpectedly walks out on his family, he is left to watch the 1971 playoffs without him. Fortunately for Henry, he meets an unlikely friend in John Kostka, a man with no legs. John has amazing connections to the Pirates team, and introduces him to many of the players. But mostly, John is there for him when Henry most needs an adult male support in his life.

Alternating between 1971 and the present, Swing shares Henry’s life as he attempts to cope with the changes that took place when his father left. Struggling to avoid turning out just like his father, Henry tries to follow his own path until a sudden temptation throws a monkey wrench in his plans. As his career hangs in limbo and his wife struggles with a health crisis, he needs to keep his focus and stay true to his values.  And although there are more questions than answers when the story reaches it conclusion, it mimics real life so well that it feels complete.

Baseball fans, especially of the Pirates, will really enjoy the play-by-play of the 1971 World Series, which places the reader fully in the thrill and excitement of the game. And the characters are so real that one almost feels a part of the family interactions taking place. I highly recommend this well-written and enjoyable novel.

And by the way, if you’ve got a hankering to read even more about the Pirates 1971 World Series team, you might also want to check out A Pirate for Life by Steve Blass.  Let’s go Bucs!!

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, sports

Little Mouse’s Adventures at Fenway Park

Little Mouse's Adventures at Fenway Park
Author: Brittany Bang
Illustrator: Caitlyn Knepka
Publisher: CurlyQ Press
Genre: Children / Sports
ISBN: 978-1941216-00-2
Pages: 32
Price: $16.95

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Little Mouse is excited because today is The Big Day. No, it’s not her birthday or Thanksgiving. It’s Opening Day at Fenway Park and she can’t wait to enjoy her special day!

Scurrying to the top of the Green Monster, she surveys the sights below. Next stop is the famous Red Seat. Then it’s off to find refreshments, before heading to the scoreboard to check out its secret message. There is so much to do and see at Fenway Park. And when it’s all over, she knows she has the whole season of fun ahead of her.

Little Mouse’s Adventures at Fenway Park is a cute introduction to this historic baseball stadium. It would make a great gift for the young Red Sox fan in your life.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, sports

Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Who: Football

Big Book of Who - Football
Publisher: Sports Illustrated Kids
Genre: Sports / Football
ISBN: 978-1-61893-040-8
Pages: 128
Price: $17.95

Sports Illustrated Kids Magazine
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Who has rushed for the most career touchdowns in Super Bowl history? Who was the running back known as “Sweetness”? Who has the most career sacks? Don’t know the answers? Well, Sports Illustrated Kids does! In Big Book of Who: Football you’ll find out who these players are, as well as a whole lot more fun football facts.

Under the headings Champions, Personalities, Record Breakers, Super Scorers and Yardage Kings, a wealth of statistics and player information is provided. Colorful and full of photos of these greats in NFL history, this book is a must-have item for the serious football fan – even adults. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

sports, teen

Always Upbeat / All That

Authors: Stephanie Perry Moore & Derrick Moore
Publisher: Saddleback Educational Publishing
Genre: Teen
ISBN: 978-1-61651-884-4
Pages: 314
Price: $14.95

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Charli Black is on top of the world. She’s only a junior in high school, and she’s just been named cheer captain. She’s dating Blake Strong, the quarterback and captain of the football team. Life seems almost perfect. But suddenly things change, and she no longer knows where she stands – with her cheer team and also with Blake.

Blake Strong loves football, but he also loves his family. And when devastating news about his mom nearly crushes him, he turns to Charli to lean on. But Charli is too busy with her girls to have any time for him. Is it time to end things with Charli, and move on to someone who seems to care?

In Always Upbeat / All That, the reader is given both sides of the same story. After reading Charli’s thoughts, we then get a glimpse of Blake’s perspective, which helps us better understand his actions. Set in a predominantly African-American community outside of Atlanta, this story offers real-life drama for urban teens.

The Lockwood Lions series pulls no punches. These are kids the reader can relate to, and the situations are not sugar-coated. But overall, this series send a positive message of getting a good education, avoiding trouble, and striving to do the right thing.

Reviewer: Alice Berger