Monday, June 11, 2018

LAST MAN OUT- Mike Lupica

Since I'm going to teach sixth grade literacy, my goal this summer is to read a lot of books that I could recommend to kids that age. Realistic and historical fiction are really my favorite genres, but I'm trying to read others, that I'm not as likely to follow. I've loved Mike Lupica for years, so when this book showed up in my Scholastic orders, I picked it up.

LAST MAN OUT is the story of Tommy Gallagher, a middle school strong safety on the Brighton Bears football team (Side note: As the mom of two former football players, I loved that this book was about a defensive player, many of the football books I have read feature offensive players- quarterbacks, running backs, an occasional wide receiver). In the first chapter, Tommy is playing in a football game when his family is notified that his firefighter father has been killed in the line of duty. Each member of the family copes in different ways- Tommy still loves football but struggles because his dad is no longer there to practice and coach and advise, so he turns to skateboarding to fill the hole in his heart and life. (I kept thinking about the list of do's and don'ts I always got at the beginning of each sports season. Pretty sure my boys would not have been allowed to skateboard because of the potential for injury, but maybe that's not true on every team). Tommy's younger sister, Em, a star soccer player, quits her team and spends hours and hours alone in her room.

I think this is one of those books teachers need to have in their repertoire because some day some kid who has lost a parent will need it. A solid story about grief and integrity and learning to move forward when life has changed and it's really, really hard.

1 comment:

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I still don't think I've read any Mike Lupica books. Do you follow Mrs. Yingling's reviews on Goodreads? She's been the source for so many of my son's favorite reads, most of which would be perfect for sixth grade. He really loved Pickle by Kim Baker, Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart, How Lunchbox Jones Saved Me from Robots by Jennifer Brown--all books I discovered through her reviews.