Monday, November 21, 2016
By Nikki Grimes
WordSong, An Imprint of Highlights, 2016. 108 p.
Garvey doesn’t like sports. Garvey’s dad loves sports. Garvey often hears his dad calling him to go and play sports, sign up for a sports team, or to be an athlete. Garvey doesn’t want to. Sometimes his mom will tell his dad to talk to Garvey about something else. Garvey’s dad wonders what else there is to talk about. Sometimes Garvey’s sister will sidetrack Dad so that she will go kick around the soccer ball or whatnot with Garvey’s Dad. But eventually Garvey will be asked again about sports. Joe, Garvey’s best friend, tells Garvey that he has a choice as to what he will do. Now Garvey just has to decide what that is and make the choice.
This book shows a complex relationship between Garvey and those around him. Garvey has two loving parents who want to be part of Garvey’s life (yay—we need more of these type of books in the world). But Garvey doesn’t like sports, not even a little bit. And Garvey’s dad just doesn’t know what to do with a son who isn’t into the stereotypical boy hobbies. This is a good book with loads to discuss (both as kids and as parents and kids together). It is told in a style of poetry called “tanka” (“an ancient poetry form, originally from Japan”). So those who enjoy a lot of white space on a page or who are drawn to shorter books will find a lot of depth among a shorter read. Beautiful.