Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream
Michael Jordan’s mother and sister team up for an inspirational story about this athlete’s earliest on-court efforts. Nelson (Big Jabe) is also a strong player here; he contributes animated art, rendered in a cartoon style that is informal yet polished. In the opening scenario, a bully intimidates young Jordan during a basketball game at a neighborhood park, causing him to flub a pass. Michael tells his older brothers, “I am really sorry, guys. If I were taller that wouldn’t have happened.” When he asks his mother what will make him grow, she advises him to put salt in his shoes and say a prayer every night. Though he obligesDand continues to practice shooting baskets at homeDhis efforts don’t immediately pay off. One day, his father convinces him that, rather than being tall, “practice, determination, and giving your best” are the keys to being “a real winner,” and Michael runs off to join his brothers in the park, where he makes the game’s winning shot. Though the book ends with a rather facile slam-dunk, the authors offer authoritative insight into this six-foot-six-inch-tall hoopster’s boyhood spunk as well as reassurance to young athletes impatient for a growth spurt. Nelson handily balances in-your-face on-court action with more reflective portraits of the player’s inner growth. All ages.