When I requested a copy of Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends, I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to enjoy it. After all, when I was a child, I was pretty much the epitome of a Bookworm; at my first college football game, my freshman roommate had to explain to me what a first down was. I have a very athletic almost-nine-year-old, however, and I thought she’d find it interesting. Surprisingly, I did, too.
Kid Athletes covers an impressive range of sports stars, I have to say–from Tiger Woods to Danica Patrick, from Jackie Robinson to Yao Ming. (Also Bobby Orr, and Gabby Douglas, and–like I said. An impressive range.) Each chapter covers a different athlete, highlighting his or her early life and how it led to a career in sports. The book is divided into three parts, but there was quite a bit of overlap; I’m not sure I would have organized the book that way if it had been up to me, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t matter, either. What did matter was how often I found myself wanting to tap the shoulder of the person next to me and say “hey, did you know…?” The cartoon illustrations only made the stories more interesting (although I did find it interesting that Doogie Horner downplayed race in his cartoon figures, even when, as with Jackie Robinson, it was an important part of the athlete’s story.) Bottom line? These are generally compelling real-life stories of success that often involve overcoming quite a bit of adversity. I think kids will be entertained; I hope they’ll be inspired; I know they’ll learn something new.