Saturday, April 9, 2011

Picture Book: Salt in His Shoes (by Deloris and Roslyn Jordan)

Summary of Salt in His Shoes:  
Michael loves to play basketball!   Every Saturday he follows his older brothers to the park in hopes of playing.  There is only one problem:  Mark, the tallest boy on the court.  He taunts and bullies Michael.  One Saturday as Michael tries to make the winning shot, Mark’s long arms knock the ball away, causing the other team to win.  Michael is discouraged.  He talks to his mother about the game loss and his desire to be taller.  She suggests they put salt in his shoes and say a prayer every night, and before he knows it, he’ll be taller.   He agrees to her plan.  That night, his mother prays over him, just as she does all her children.  She asks God, “Please help Michael to be the best he can be and to give his best in all that he does.  And Lord, could you make him just a little bit taller tomorrow than he is today.”

Michael wears his salted shoes everywhere he goes, even church.  He eats healthy meals.  Instead of going to the park on Saturdays, he practices hard at home.  Most of all, he does not forget to pray each night before bed.  After a few months, Michael still hasn't grown.  He misses playing ball at the park with the guys.  His father encourages him, “You are a good player, son.  And you already have everything it takes to be a winner, right in here [taps him on the chest].”  Inspired, Michael dashes off to join the game already in progress.  When he gets on the court, he makes the winning shot!  He is so ecstatic that he runs all the way home!  After that day, his mama stops putting salt in his shoes, “but Michael [does] not stop being patient and working hard and praying.” 

Today, Michael is six-foot-six inches tall.  He is the basketball star—Michael Jordan. 

Evaluation:
Fortunately, because I heard Salt in His Shoes read aloud, I did not see the cover which reveals it is about Michael Jordan. There was a collective “wow” gasp in the room at that revelation on the final page.  This book especially resonates with children and adults because it is a true story of a world-famous athlete.  This narrative highlights character qualities, such as perseverance, faithfulness, patience, and hard work.  Children will be encouraged to see that a superstar like Michael Jordan had to work hard and overcome obstacles.  Salt in His Shoes was written by Michael Jordan’s mother, Deloris Jordan, and his sister, Roslyn M. Jordan.  The text is well-written and appealing.  My favorite part is when his mother prays over him, asking God to help him grow physically and develop personally.  Prayer and hard work are both clearly credit for Michael’s success.  Kadir Nelson’s illustrations capture the era and culture as well as the tone and emotions.  I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages. 

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