Saturday, 8 February 2020

When I Grow Up: Sports Heroes


When I Grow Up: Sports Heroes by Clare Lloyd, Illustrated by Lucy Semple (Penguin Random House) ISBN 978-0-2414-1268-8 RRP $12.99 (Board book)

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Sports Heroes is part of the ‘When I Grow Up’ series of books, originally put out by DK books in the US. In board book format, this book summarises the lives of a selection of famous sports stars from around the word, beginning with their childhood. Colourful illustrations cover the pages and are a combination of drawings and photographs of the real people. The text describes how each sportsperson developed from a child who loved the sport, to one of the top athletes in their field in the world. 

The sports stars mentioned are Usain Bolt (Jamaican runner), Ellie Simmonds (British Paralympic swimmer), LeBron James (American basketballer), Zhu Ting (Chinese volleyballer), Simone Biles (American gymnast), Yuzuru Hanua (Japanese ice figure skater), Angelique Kerber (German tennis player) and Lionel Messi (Argentinian soccer player). Each double page spread shows a description of what they were like as a child and how they got their success. Young readers can easily relate to the content and be inspired to get into sport. The message is that no matter what sort of background you come from it is possible to achieve great things. 

The board book format suggests it could be used for pre-primary school readers (to be read to) although the early primary school age group, who are more likely to be starting out in sports, will probably get the most out of it. Because it is originally a US book, no Australian sports stars are included, so Aussie kids will not find a local hero in there to relate to. But male and female genders have been equally included as well as a disabled athlete, along with the mix of nationalities, which is very good to see.

Children who are inspired by When I Grow Up: Sports Heroes can also read the next in the series Great Leaders.

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