If there's one "truth" I've noticed it's that not everyone is a "reader" (by which I mean a person who loves to read books and regularly does). I have four children and 2 of them are definitely readers. Taylor isn't. And that's okay - there's nothing wrong with that - not everyone enjoys books like I do. Taylor would rather be riding his skateboard or bike or playing baseball or golf or swimming or doing any number of other activities. The problem is that teachers assign kids to read (darn those teachers!) and grade them on it. And since Taylor won't just sit down on his own and pick up a book, I have him read to me and we’ve read a lot of books together that way. The key is to find a good one that will interest him, and Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker was perfect.
We picked this book from Taylor's 8th grade summer-reading list because it sounded better than the others. And if you look at some of the online reviews you'll see a lot of kids who say they don't ordinarily like reading but they loved this book. We really liked it, too. The play-by-play is full of action and the fundamentals of "how" a player should think are shown repeatedly, in marked contrast to another baseball book we read, The Big Field by Mike Lupica (this book is much better). The narration by Seth comes across a bit flat for most of the book, but it makes sense when you get to the end. Initially I also thought the ending was almost too abrupt, but realized upon further reflection that it gives the message a forcefulness that might otherwise have been lacking. While the story revolves around baseball it has much larger implications to life, and will resonate with lots of kids.