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Winning Words: Sports Stories and Photographs Hardcover – July 8, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (July 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763614459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763614454
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,956,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 Up—This outstanding collection consists of six readable and engaging stories. In "Don't Say It," Brian attempts to break out of a batting slump. "Stuffed Eagles" is a humorous account of a football team's last-gasp effort to keep from being scoreless for an entire season. A soccer player notes her team's lack of teamwork in "I'm Open." A gymnast overcomes her fear on the balance beam in "Crack-Crack-Crunch." In "A Mountain of Wood," Candace focuses her energy on breaking a wood board with her fist as she completes the test to earn her brown belt in karate. A teen gains the confidence he needs to perform well in a pick-up basketball game in "Makes Me Wanna Holla." Each story illustrates a particular quality and is paired with an apt quote, such as this one from Bruce Lee following "A Mountain of Wood": "In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail." Throughout, Smith does a fine job of evoking the action and character of the games, in words and in close-up photos. Here, he captures the staccato pace of infield play: "Crack! React. Here it comes. Lunge left. Leap. Stop. Off the dirt. Onto your feet. Throw to first. Got him!" An excellent choice for reading aloud, this book should win over a wide audience, including reluctant readers.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
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From Booklist

Smith, who has written several books about sports, including Twelve Rounds to Glory (2007), which is included in this year’s Top 10 Sports Books for Youth on p.114, now offers a series of short stories centered around various quotations from sport figures such as Mike Ditka and Bruce Lee. Some of the stories work better than others. One about a young baseball player in a slump effectively shows how athletes can get in and out of their own heads. But a dialogue between two sportscasters calling a football game falls flat. Still, many young athletes will find something of interest here, and the quotes at the end of each story give them something to think about, as when Jerry West notes, “Confidence is a lot of this game or any game. If you don’t think you can, you won’t.” Smith, also noted for his photographic images, offers a stimulating mix here, some sepia-toned, others in color, throughout this attractively designed collection. Grades 5-8. --Ilene Cooper

More About the Author

Charles R. Smith Jr. is an award-winning children's book author, photographer and poet with over thirty books to his credit. His awards include a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration for his photographs accompanying the Langston Hughes poem, "My People" and a Coretta Scott King Honor Author Award for his biography on Muhammad Ali, "Twelve Rounds to Glory." Many of his books have also garnered reluctant reader awards, proving that kids that don't like to read, do like to read his books.

Charles combines his passions of writing and photography with a variety of subjects that spark his interest. Even though his early books such as "Rimshots", "Hoop Kings" and "Hoop Queens focus on basketball, Charles has shown the ability to apply his talents to a variety of subjects, including diversity with "I Am America" and "I Am the World", Greek mythology with "The Mighty 12", how slaves built the White House with "Brick by Brick" and Negro League baseball with "Stars in the Shadows" to name a few. His poetry has also been used to paint unique biographical portraits of personal heroes such as the aforementioned Ali, boxer Jack Johnson and soon, guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

Of the distinctive niche Charles fills with his books, he notes, "I want to show students, particularly boys, that there are many ways to pursue their interests, no matter what they may be."

To hear excerpts from his books and learn more about Charles R. Smith Jr, visit his website at www.charlesrsmithjr.com

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