by Howard Shapiro
$ 10.75 (paperback)
$ 1.99 (ebook)
About the book:
"When I think about that magical season 20 years ago it was events that happened off the ice that meant more to me than what happened on the ice. It all started in the winter of 1984..."
Told in flashback, "Hockey Player for Life" is the story of 13 year old Tom Leonard, his AA hockey team and hometown's "can't-miss kid". When Tom doesn't make it in the big league in Canada, he learns valuable lessons from his friends and family and from simply playing the great game of hockey.
I'll be the first to admit I know next to nothing about hockey. In fact, the one time I and a friend of mine went to a hockey game we decided to leave early just so we could avoid the mass rush of cars leaving - turns out it was the end of the game! So much for beating all the other drivers out of the parking lot....
I wasn't really excited about reading Hockey Player for Life but ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Still don't know a lot about Hockey - but I really liked the moral value in this book (perseverance, honesty, sportsmanship, respect for elders and other team players) and the way it was written.
Written in first person, Tom tells the story of his most memorable season of Hockey. He has the choice of accepting an invitation to join a big league (read that very successful and hard hitting) in Canada where he is no longer the "can't miss" kid who can do no wrong. He learns how to become a team player, how to support his team and still stand up for what he believes in and who his true friends are. I loved the close relationship between Tom and his father which seemed to be founded on respect between both of them. His father supports his decisions, doesn't talk down to him and respected his thoughts and discussed matters with Tom almost as a mini-adult. Now, the coach of his hometown Hockey league - I did not like him and loved that he (the coach) learned a powerful lesson by the end of the book.
I would say this book is for most sports minded boys 11+. The text like I said is in first person so it's a little more difficult to read, no pictures so they are going to need to be able to focus and take their cues from the text & their imagination and I loved that there was no language in this book. I'm intending to pass this book on to my 9 1/2 year old nephew (he reads at a high school level) who loves sports. I think he will love it.
Connect with Howard Shapiro @:
Hockey Days is a picture book for younger children about Tom, his father and the close relationship with Tom's grandfather who passed away recently - It's also about a memory that Tom & his father share of his grandfather and a orange hat all three have received & wear in their hockey games. The text in this book is a bit more simple, the pictures are big and expand the story for younger readers and help kids connect with the memories Tom and his father have of his grandfather and the game of hockey. $13.95, paperback, 24 pages - currently out of stock on Amazon (I'm sure Mr Shapiro can help you get a copy on his website)
Stereotypical Freaks (I have not read this one). Four disparate high school seniors come together to compete in their school's battle of the bands. Sharing a love for playing rock and roll, the members name the band "The Stereotypical Freaks" because they feel stereotyped by their classmates - smart kid, geek, star athlete and quiet weirdo… when in fact they know they are much more than those labels that have been placed on them. When one member reveals life altering news, winning the competition takes on more of a meaning to each member. Scared and angry, upset and yet still with a lot of resolve they set out to win one for the good guys… will they? $11.95, paperback (kindle available for $4.99), 140 pages
About the author:
HOWARD SHAPIRO lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and two sons. The Controller for the Pittsburgh-based graphic design firm, BD&E Inc., he has also written three children's books. The fourth, Hockey Player For Life, will be published in October, 2008. His first three books (Hanukkah Counts Too!, Destructo Boy & Spillerella...We Are Who We Are! and Hockey Days), combined, have sold over 3,500 copies to date.
He has received positive reviews in The Jewish Monthly Magazine, The Canadian Jewish News, Pittsburgh Magazine and the Hockey News. His book, Hockey Days, was the only book featured in the December 2007 Sporting News Annual Gift Guide as a Best Buy Gift for Children. He has been published in the National Business Employment Weekly and his short story, Waterfall (White Knuckle Happy), was featured in the Literary Fragments Espresso Cafe, A Short Story Collection.
For more information, please log on to howardshapiro(dot)net
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of Hockey Play for Life & Hockey Days to read and review on CCB. I was not required to write a positive review and no money exchanged hands.