Sunday, March 11, 2012
Dwyane Wade by Michael Sandler
by Michael Sandler
Basketball Heroes: Making a Difference series
Bearport Publishing, 2012
The reviewer received a copy of the book from the publisher.
We're into the month of March, and everywhere I look there are signs of March Madness. Kids and adults are talking about their NCAA picks for the college basketball championship. I think I've heard the word "bracket" a dozen times this weekend. That means that readers will be looking for basketball books in the library. I find it tricky to select sports biographies of current athletes for the library. Players come and go, and within a few years the biographies become dated and sit on the shelves. When teachers assign biography projects, they typically require students to read about people who have had an impact on the world. This requirement eliminates a lot of the modern-day sports biographies that are a merely compilation of statistics with some photos from games.
I was intriqued when I saw a new series listed in the Bearport Publishing catalog this year. The series, Basketball Heroes: Making a Difference, features four players Kevin Durant, Amar'e Stoudemire, Derrick Rose, and Dwyane Wade. I read the biography of Dwyane Wade, and it struck me as the perfect balance between athletic accomplishments and humanitarian efforts. The book will be extremely appealing to the middle grade reluctant readers in your library. It's twenty-four pages in length, and contains lots of photographs of Wade both in action on the court and working with children in need.
Readers will learn about Wade's difficult childhood growing up in a broken home in tough neighborhoods of Chicago. Wade later went on to became a college basketball success and an NBA sensation playing for the Miami Heat. Even though the book contains highlights from games and basketball stats, the focus is really on the work Wade has done off the court. As an NBA player, Wade has used his wealth and status to start a basketball camp for kids in Chicago, and he founded the Wade's World Foundation to help kids in difficult situations. When it appeared the public library in Robbins, Illinois would close due to budget cuts in 2009, Wade donated money to help keep the library open. The following year he appeared on posters for Library Card Sign-Up Month. What librarian can resist that story?
The book is organized well and utilizes text features such as captions, bold print, and a glossary. The focus on Wade's charitable work may make this a book teachers will accept for biographies projects. It's certainly a book that sports fans will be eager to read.