Joe Louis, my champion

10:23 AM Posted by Lori Calabrese

Everyone's had a favorite sports hero at sometime in their life--somebody we all look up to that is hardworking and passionate about his/ her sport. Joe Louis, My Champion captures that spirit we all experience when we root for our heroes.

It’s the spring of 1937, and anticipation for the heavyweight title fight between Joe Louis and James Braddock is at a fever pitch. Our main character, Sammy can hardly contain his excitement. He knows his hero, Joe Louis, will soon be the boxing champion of the world.

Sammy dreams of being a boxer, just like Joe Louis. But when he has a hard time throwing a punch, he fears he'll never be like Joe. Sammy's father and friend explain to him that "Joe's had to fight something else, too"--prejudice. They explain that's why Joe Louis means more to them than boxing.

Joe Louis proves victorious against Braddock, and Sammy continues to struggle with the fact that he'll never be a boxer, never be a champ. By the end of the book, Sammy realizes the significance of Louis' wins and realizes he can be a champ. Maybe he'll never be a boxer, but he could be good at something else--perhaps fighting for poor people, helping sick people, or teaching kids in school. And by carrying around a picture of Louis, Sammy is reminded that he can be the best.

An afterword gives a brief bio of Joe Louis, who was the first African American to achieve hero status for all Americans--an honor previously reserved only for whites. Joe Louis, My Champion is a heartfelt tribute, not only to Joe Louis, but all of the sports heroes whose baseball cards are carried around in pockets, and whose posters hang above sports fans' beds. Their determination and perseverance should certainly inspire us all to achieve our dreams.

Additional Information:
Author: William Miller
Illustrator: Rodney S. Pate
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Lee & Low Books (May 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600604269
ISBN-13: 978-1600604263
Source of review copy: Publisher

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