Stories of grit and resolve

Stories of grit and resolve

Books on sport teach children all the values we want them to learn without being preachy.

Loki Takes Guard

Hockey legend Dhyanchand’s birthday is on August 29, and is marked as National Sports Day in India. Since I’m still feeling the after-effects of the Olympic Games, I thought this was a great excuse to steep myself in some more sports fever and tell you about some of my favourite books that involve sports.  

Ready? Yes! Play! written by Arundhati Nath, and illustrated by Priyankar Gupta, is a sweet picture book of a little girl with partial vision who wants to play cricket. It even has an interesting note at the back about blind cricket and how the game of cricket has been adapted for people who are visually impaired.

Loki Takes Guard by Menaka Raman is about another girl, not-as-little, who wants to play on the local cricket league team but the boys don’t want anything to do with her. Brimming with lovable characters and huge helpings of humour, this book is a delight.

In Against All Odds by Ramendra Kumar, Kartik moves from Kolkata to Rourkela only to find that the school coach refuses to let him play football. Back in Kolkata, nobody bothered that he had only one arm, but here, apparently, it is a problem. But not for long! This book is full of fun and football, and as an added bonus, is a celebration of life in a small town.

Trouble is the name of Book 4 of the Hill School Girls series by A Coven. This is a boarding school series set in a fictional hill station in India. Mahrukh wants to impress her new basketball coach, but not everything turns out her way. Lots of basketball and loads of drama and mystery!

The Track series by Jason Reynolds, is about four talented kids training in athletics, and are good enough to make it to the Junior Olympics. But each one has problems of their own that might hold them back from reaching their full potential. There are four books in the series — Ghost, Patina, Sunny and Lu, each focusing on one of the kids. This series moved and inspired me on multiple levels. They are written with love, depth and sensitivity and stayed on my mind weeks after I finished reading them.

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami is interesting on many levels. For one, it introduced me to a community in California where, back in the early 20th century, Punjabis and Mexicans, both of whom had moved there to work on farms, married each other, giving rise to an entire community of Punjabi Mexican Americans. Maria Singh is the product of one such marriage. Larger events are unfolding in the background, but all Maria wants to do is join the first girls softball team in her school.

Grit, determination, sportsmanship — there’s lots to love in books about sports.

The author has written 12 books for children and can be reached at www.shruthi-rao.com

GobbledyBook is a fortnightly column that gives a peek into the wondrous world of children’s books. Hop on! Or as Alice did, plunge into the rabbit hole.

 

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