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Check out Checked

4 Jun

My classroom library is organized by genre. There’s only one fiction tub for sport books- and they don’t get a lot of action. Part of that is my fault. I don’t really enjoy books about sports and often tune out during descriptions of games or competitions.

I didn’t tune out of the sports parts of Cynthia Kadohata’s Checked.checked-9781481446617_hr

I think that was because they were as meditative and reflective as any middle grade literary work of fiction I have ever read.

Publisher’s Summary: Hockey is Conor’s life. His whole life. He’ll say it himself, he’s a hockey beast. It’s his dad’s whole life too—and Conor is sure that’s why his stepmom, Jenny, left. There are very few things Conor and his dad love more than the game, and one of those things is their Doberman, Sinbad. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor chooses to put his hockey lessons and practices on hold so they can pay for Sinbad’s chemotherapy.

But without hockey to distract him, Conor begins to notice more. Like his dad’s crying bouts, and his friend’s difficult family life. And then Conor notices one more thing: Without hockey, the one thing that makes him feel special, is he really special at all?

I think this one works for me because of Connor’s voice. It is so authentic. He’s not a great student. He is an excellent hockey player. He loves his Dad and his dog, Sinbad. He just comes across as a very real kid, with very real kid worries.

I’m not going to lie, I teared up a few times (not during the hockey parts) and when I finished, I just had to sit, holding the book for a few minutes before I could move. Such a lovely, lovely book.


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