We’ve all seen the ugly side of youth sports- devastating injuries; a “win at any cost” attitude; athletes whose emotional and academic needs are not met or even considered. If only youth sports could be like the track team in Jason Reynolds’ “Track Series”. If only every kid could have a coach like Coach Otis. I think this series should be required reading for every youth coach out there.
The last two books in the “Track Series” are out, and if you loved the first books in the series as much as I did, then you will be thrilled to read the new ones, and very, very sad to know the series has concluded.
What is it? Sunny, book three in the series
Why should I read it? Sunny runs the 1600 meter faster than anyone, which is a problem, because even though he loves being on the track team, he doesn’t like running. This third book in the series is written entirely as Sunny’s diary entries, and, once again, Reynolds has created a unique, believable character with a distinctive voice. We follow Sunny as he deals with his own grief (and that of his father) over his mother’s death, as he finds a new place on the track team, and as he learns that throwing a discus has a lot in common with his real love- dancing.
Who is it for? fifth grade through middle school- you don’t need to be a runner to enjoy these books.
What is it? Lu, the final book in the series.
Why should I read it? Lu is probably as close as an author can come to having a perfect ending to a series. Reynolds weaves in stories and characters from the first three books, and brings all of them together again in an emotional and uplifting ending. This book touches on drug addiction and the effects of bullying in a way that is appropriate even for fifth graders. It is as deeply moving, funny, and inspiring as the first three books. You don’t have to read the series in order, but it will have the biggest impact if you do. (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, Lu)
Who is it for? If you’re a fifth grade or middle school teacher, these are great books for literature circles. (fifth grade through middle school)