Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Guys Read: The Sports Pages

Title: Guys Read: The Sports Pages     
Edited By: Jon Scieszka
Illustrator: Dan Santat
Publisher: Walden Pond Press  
Publication Date: July 10th, 2012   
Genre/Format: Sports Fiction/Short Stories 
GoodReads Summary:  Ten stories guaranteed to put you in the ring, under the basket, and right behind home plate, from the following perennial all-stars: Dustin Brown, James Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Chris Crutcher, Tim Green, Dan Gutman, Gordon Korman, Chris Rylander, Anne Ursu, Jacqueline Woodson
What Jen Thinks: I live with a PE teacher (my husband) so I was excited to get the opportunity to read and review Guys Read: The Sports Pages! In our house, we love football and basketball but my husband stays up to date on everything sports. I was excited to see the stories covered a range of sports and included different genres. I also liked that there are stories from current athletes as well as those who played before, who students may not recognize. 
It really doesn't matter what sport the stories are about, if you love sports, I think you will enjoy this book. Really, at the heart of sports stories is the main character. Whether the character is real or fictional, a player or a spectator, he or she has something unique to share about the commitment, the determination, and motivation, and the sheer love of the game. 
As I read, I found myself thinking about one of my students who loves to play hockey. Even though hockey is his passion, I think he would enjoy all of these stories. Last school year, this student wrote about what it feels like to get hit into the boards in a hockey game. We used Gary Schmidt's book Okay For Now as a mentor text and looked at how Schmidt stops a moment in time and explodes it with description. I can see how these stories would have been perfect mentor texts for this particular student who loves sports.
What Kellee Thinks:  I love baseball, so when The Sports Pages' first story was one by Don Gutman about baseball that cracked me up so much that I ran to the other room to tell my husband about it - the book had won me over. Realistically, like most short story collections, I found stories I really enjoyed and others I enjoyed less. Personally, I liked the baseball stories the most because I am a fan where others will like the football stories. Either way, this book has a bit of something for almost all sports lovers: tennis, hockey, basketball, baseball, football, and MMA.

As a teacher, I love short story collections because they can easily be used for read alouds or mentor texts. This particular collection has such a wide mix of texts.  Though I specifically feel that the pieces nonfiction are the best pieces in the collection to use as exemplar texts and each memoir piece is formatted differently- one more of an interview (with Dustin Brown), one more of a humorous narrative (by Don Gutman) and one a personal narrative (by James Brown). I will definitely be purchasing this book because it will be loved (and because the ARC is missing Chris Crutcher's story and I HAVE to read it!). 
Read Together:  Grades 3 to 8
Read Alone:  Grades 4 to 9
Read With:  Guys Read series edited by Jon Sciezska, Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher, Football Genius (series) by Tim Green, sports fiction novels by Mike Lupica, Tim Green, John H. Ritter, Carl Deuker, or John Feinstein
Snatch of Text:  "So what can we learn from all this? 
Nothing! What, you thought there was going to be some kind of moral or lessons in this book? Forget about it. It's just sports. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And sometimes you lose for eighty-six years in a row." (Dan Gutman, pg. 16) 

"My parents were right: focusing on getting the best possible education truly has provided me with the foundation to have enjoyed much more in life that I could have ever dreamed. 

Thanks, Mom and Dad." (James Brown, p. 160)
Mentor Text For: Memoirs, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you wanted something so badly - whether it's about being great at a sport or something else - and how determination felt to you.
Topics Covered: Sports - Baseball, Tennis, Football, Hockey, Mixed Martial Arts, Basketball; Identity, Rivalry, Competition, Humor, Bullying, Reflection, Revenge, Motivation, Friendship

Jen and Kellee *heart* It:

**Thank you so much to Walden Pond Press for giving us a copy of Guys Read: The Sports Pages to review and for providing copies of each of the Guys Read books for the giveaway!**

The giveaway is now closed! The winner will be announced on Monday, July 16th!

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