Monday, June 15, 2015

The Underdogs by Mike Lupica

My first year as a school librarian is winding to an end.  It's been a year of much work and learning. One gift this year has given me is the returned joy of working with kids.  I really enjoyed building relationships with students and experiencing a love of teaching that I haven't felt since my initial years in education.  A perfect example is illustrated by my review of The Underdogs.

The UnderdogsThe Underdogs by Mike Lupica
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some of the best books I've read were recommended to me by students. Recently, a 5th grader who was working on a book trailer project for my class asked for help. The conversation went something like this:

5th Grade Boy: Mrs. Salcedo, what city does The Underdogs take place in?
Me: What?
5GB: You know, The Underdogs, what's the city?
Me: I don't know.
5GB: Yes, you do. You know the book about the boy with the football team. You know, the really good book.
Me: No. I've never read that.
5GB (looking at me in total shock): What?! That's the best book ever!
Me: Actually, I don't think I've ever read a football book in my life.
5GB's jaw actually drops and he looks at me more as an alien now than a human librarian. Then: Okay, can I just go over to the library and get the book.
Me: Sure.

A few minutes later.

5GB (clearly hiding something behind his back): Mrs. Salcedo, would you come into the library for a minute.
Me: Okay...
5GB walks over to the circulation desk where I keep the teachers' library cards for check out and pulls The Underdogs from behind his back: May I get your library card?
Me: Yes.
5GB (checks out book in my name): Is this okay? Will you read this? You have to read this! We need to expand your football book repertoire.
Me (wondering where on Earth a 5th grade boy learned to use language like "repertoire"): Sure. Yes, I will read it!

I'm so glad that happened because, yes, I did need to expand my football book repertoire. I was totally unfamiliar with the book and only vaguely knew that Mike Lupica wrote sports books (can't keep them on the shelves). Now, I want to read more Mike Lupica books and more football books. This is a wonderful story about football, but also about love, purpose, teamwork and making a comeback in life. I really loved this book. Thanks, 5th Grader!

By the way, the student also checked in on my reading periodically, including quizzes! I passed every question! :)

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