For as long as he can remember, Matt has wanted to play basketball. Now, as he tries out for the team at his new middle school, he realizes that the easy days of elementary ball are over and that this is a much more serious game. Dealing with a hard-driving coach, competitive teammates and his own insecurities in a new school, Matt needs to call on all his skills, both on and off the court, to make the team and keep his head above water. When he is involved, albeit unwittingly, in tagging a store with racist graffiti, Matt finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for. And when he fights back against an aggressive teammate and is threatened with suspension from the team, he learns that it is not only game-time decisions that count, but also the choices made after the crowd has gone home and the gym is silent.
Nick and Kia get excited when their school gym teacher announces a "three-on-three" basketball tournament. The two most dedicated players in grade three, they know they'll be tough to beat. But when Nick finds out they'll be up against teams in grade four and five, he is ready to throw in the towel before they start. How can shrimps like them ever hope to beat the older kids? Kia, however, is undaunted. They need a third player for their team anyway, she reasons, so why not go after the best player in the school? Marcus is bigger, tougher and in grade five. But it's not as easy as Kia thinks to convince Marcus to join their team. And there's no guarantee the older boy won't change his mind before the tournament begins. Marcus is often uneasy around them, but worse, Kia and Nick find themselves making enemies of some of the kids in the upper grade. Nick realizes it's going to take more than skill at basketball to win this tournament and make friends with Marcus without becoming targets for the older kids off the court. Book 1 in the series.
Murphy and his three friends, Danny, Jeff and Albert, are making the transition from the tribal elementary school to the community middle school. They are all trying out for the middle school's soccer team, and they're pretty confident that The Formidable Four will all make the team. But once the tryouts begin, Albert, the tribal-school superstar, plays like a second stringer. Murphy's new friend, Molly, is determined to help the boys find out what's wrong with Albert, but when they discover the truth, they realize that Albert is playing a whole different game.
Riley and Dashawn have been friends since they were three. They got into skateboarding together and have advanced to the point where it's time to create a Sponsor Me tape. They bring a third skater along, Natasha, and try to get some good clips around a new office development. Then the police storm into the lot. The three skaters quickly scatter, trying their best not to get busted. Riley and Natasha arrive at the meet-up spot. They wait and wait, but Dashawn never shows. The next day Riley visits Dashawn, only to discover that the police have given him a beat-down. Nothing like this has ever happened before, and for Riley it is a wake-up call that whether they know it or not, not everyone lives in the same world he does.
Cade's dad thinks triathlons are for wimps. He doesn't think it's a real sport and wishes Cade would play football instead, like his older brother, Trent. So Cade trains in secret and qualifies to compete in the provincial championship in Sylvan Lake. The night before the event, Cade's coach suddenly can't go, and Cade is forced to ask his dad for a ride there. He only agrees because Trent has a football game nearby. The road trip takes a nasty turn when his dad swerves to avoid a deer and their car hurtles into an ice-cold river. It's up to Cade to use his skills to save his entire family.
More than anything, twelve-year-old Max wants to play hockey like he used to. But since the death of his dad, his mom does more crying than mothering, and Max has to take his special-needs brother, Duncan, with him everywhere he goes. The team needs Max to win the upcoming game against the Red Eagles, but one practice with Duncan makes it evident that it's not safe to leave him unattended on the sidelines. With only a week to figure out how he can play in the big game, Max is feeling the pressure. Will he find a way to be a good teammate, a good brother and a good son, or is it too much for one kid?
After budget cuts force the Southside Saints football team to disband, Jamal and his friends have to settle for playing pickup on the hardscrabble field behind their high school. Then the president of a sporting-goods company offers to donate $20,000 worth of equipment to the team. There's only one catch: he wants to be the coach. Thrilled to have a real team together, the players turn a blind eye to Coach Fort's racism, bullying and discrimination. Until he takes it too far. Now its up to Jamal and his teammates to take back their team and show what they're made of.
Ayla loves climbing. But she prefers to climb indoors, with all her safety harnesses in place and soft mats to land on. Her climbing partner and best friend, Lissy, is much more adventurous and loves the outdoors. When Lissy starts hanging out with Carlos, the new thrill-seeking guy in town, Ayla wants to keep an eye on her and finds herself tagging along on a weekend climbing trip up Black Dog Mountain. But things go very wrong when Lissy and her dad, the only adult in the group, are badly injured high on the side of the mountain. Suddenly the risks of climbing become very real. Ayla and Carlos need to figure out how to get help, and every decision they make could have catastrophic consequences.
When the Gladiators basketball team's nasty coach finally gets turfed midseason, things couldn't possibly get worse. The team hasn't won a game yet, and morale is at rock bottom. Sameer, who announces the games and keeps score, and Vijay, the team mascot, have their hands full keeping the team's spirits up. When they get promoted to assistant coach and manager, can they help a small, unathletic, Shakespeare-quoting drama teacher coach the team to victory, or at least to dignity? Or will the courtside drama eclipse even the school play?
Danny and his friends, Anita, Petou and Marcel, are typical prairie youngsters hockey mad. The four are always playing road hockey or involved in a game of shinny on the community rink. One day a town team, the Wolves, is formed. The friends are overjoyed, but when the time comes to choose the team, only Marcel is picked. The other three friends are not chosen; Anita is a girl, Petou is too small and Danny cannot skate. It is the biggest disappointment of Danny's life. But near the end of the season, the regular goalie is injured and Danny is asked to replace him. If the Wolves can win the game, they will make the playoffs! This is Danny's chance to prove that even though he can't wear a pair of skates, he can still play the game.
Luc Waldon always figured he knew what his passion was: football. He lives it, he breathes it and he thinks he has what it takes to go all the way to the NFL. So when his football coach orders him to sign up for contemporary-dance classes to improve his game, Luc's less than thrilled. When he realizes that dance might actually be his true passion, he faces a tough decision. Is he willing to leave behind the field and a real shot at professional sports, and disappoint his parents, his coach and his teammates, in order to pursue a new dream?
When it comes to cross-country running, Jake does everything right. He eats all the right foods, trains like crazy and reads articles about running in his spare time. There's nothing easy about running, but the hardest part for Jake is that, at the end of the day, Spencer Solomon always wins first place. Determined to take the lead for once, Jake continues to push himself even more. His rigorous training schedule leaves no time for friends, family, pizza or joking around. When Jake is invited to join the Diamond Running Club, he thinks he's found an opportunity to train harder. Instead, with the help of his coach, Jake begins to rediscover what he used to love about running in the first place.
Fifteen-year-old Zack finds a homemade CD with the word Famous written on it. Lonely and bored while suspended from school, he puts the CD on and loses himself in the music. Zack has sound-color synesthesia. He sees colors when he hears music, and the music on the Famous CD causes incredible patterns of color for him. Zach becomes obsessed with the girl on the CD and tries to find her. He tracks down the singer, Jolene, in a café where she works while she dreams of the big time. He convinces her to let him help her achieve her dreams, but soon discovers that in her quest for fame, Jolene has done a lot of damage. Stuff We All Get is a gentle critique of celebrity culture in North America.
From the moment Simon Whitfield burst onto the world stage at the 2000 Sydney Summer Games as triathlon's first Olympic champion, his winning personality and stellar athletic abilities have inspired young people around the globe. In Simon Says Gold, Simon describes his personal journey to Olympic glory as he recounts not only that glorious day in Sydney, but also the anguish of failing to repeat as Olympic champion in Athens in 2004, and his dramatic comeback at the 2008 Beijing Games, when his exhilarating race to a silver medal enthralled millions of fans around the world. Simon's stories of the highs and lows of his running career will captivate readers young and old, but his real message that the simple pursuit of excellence is its own reward will also inspire and motivate. Not everyone can be an Olympian. Simon Whitfield believes that true greatness is in performing to the best of one's ability. The reward is in the effort, not the outcome.
Trying to land a spot on the South Side Middle School football team isn't the biggest challenge Matt Hill faces in the third installment of this popular series. Besides catching passes and dodging defenders, Matt also has to deal with the return of his estranged father following a ten-year absence. But while Matt comes to grips with forgiving his father and gets used to having him around, he must also help a teammate deal with the damage inflicted by his own overbearing and sometimes violent dad. Full of the exciting sports action that marked the first two volumes of the South Side Sports series, First and Ten is a tale of choices made and lessons learned, both on and off the field. Book 3 in the series.
Fresh from a thrilling basketball season playing for the varsity team, Matt is looking forward to a new challenge: baseball. The South Side team seems to be strong this yearif only Matt can control his fear of being hit by an errant pitch. But when Matt's friend, Jake, the team's star, falls in with the wrong crowd, the entire seasonnot to mention their long-standing friendshipseems to be on the line.
It's a new season for Nick and Kia and once again they have to prove they've got what it takes to make the Mississauga Magic rep team. There is no free ride on Coach Barkley's team. The tryouts are tough but fair and it looks like the nucleus of last years team will be together once again. But there is one new player who seems to have the skills to impress the coach. Though Ashton has great skills, he's not much of a team player. On top of that he's not even sure he wants to make the team. Unable to imagine that anyone wouldn't want to play for the Magic, Nick and Kia set out to solve this dilemma and learn some tough lessons along the way. Book 7 in the series.
Yossi Mendelsohn works hard to help his family survive after they flee Russia to find a better life in Montreal. He sells newspapers and carries bundles from the garment factory. Yossi longs to play "le hockey" with the French boys, but he has no skates. When his father falls ill and his sister and her fianc organize a walkout at the factory, Yossi's dream of lacing on skates seems farther away than ever.
It's summertime and hoops season is over, but that doesn't keep Nick and Kia off the court. One very hot day they head to the rec center for a swim but end up on the outdoor courts that are usually dominated by older players. Their enjoyment of the court is short-lived, however, when three teens show up and kick the kids and their ball off the court. Nick and Kia don't take well to being bullied, but there's nothing they can do about it. At least not until they run into Jerome "Junk Yard Dog" Williams at a mall promotional event, and Kia enlists the NBA star's help in proving that she and Nick do indeed belong on the same court as the older players. Eric Walters has teamed up with NBA fan-favorite and former Toronto Raptor and current New York Knick Jerome "Junk Yard Dog" Williams for the eighth installment of this best-selling basketball series. Jerome's royalties will help support the JYD Project, which is run by his brother, Johnnie Williams. The JYD Project's goal is to reach more than half a million Canadian and American students over a five-year period with their inspirational message. Book 8 in the series.
Jaz lives in the small northern community of Destiny and is a new member of the Junior Canadian Rangers. Her divorced parents argue a lot, and Jaz hopes if she wins a dog-mushing derby, they will be so proud of her they will stop arguing. But the derby would be a lot more fun if she wasn't paired with Colly, an older boy who is a more experienced JCR. On the derby trail all Jaz's newfound skills, her will to survive and her ability to get along with Colly, are put to a life-and-death test.
Nick, Kia and their Mississauga Magic teammates are on the road, heading off to an elite hoop tournament in the Midwest. Feeling outmatched by many of the high profile teams, the kids are still looking forward to a good time. However, Coach Barkley, who played college ball in the area and is still regarded as a hero, has other ideas. As usual, nothing but winning will be good enough for Coach. As the tournament progresses, the Magic players learn to believe in themselves and come to realize that they can hold their own against the opposing teams. And then, just as the team seems to have a shot at making the finals, the eligibility of one of their players is questioned and they face disqualification. Will the team spirit the road trip has instilled be strong enough to get the kids over this hurdle? Book 5 in the series.
In the tenth installment of the best-selling Eric Walters basketball series, Nick, Kia and their teammates embark on a letter writing campaign to persuade the Toronto Raptors community relations department to send one or more of the players to visit Clark Boulevard Elementary School. Unfortunately they are too late in applying and the team's school program has already been set for the year. But Nick and Kia do not give up easily, and their efforts become increasingly dramatic until Nick finally comes up with an idea that the team will be unable to ignore. Book 10 in the series
When Nick and his pals suddenly find themselves short a man for the NBA-sponsored three-on-three tournament they plan to enter during the summer holidays, the solution seems simple enough. Nick, Kia and Mark are the key players on the team, so the fourth, though mandatory according to the rules, doesn't really have to be good at the game. A surprise visit from Nick's mother's cousin brings Ned, who is exactly Nick's age but not exactly an athlete, into the picture and onto the team. Nick and Ned, though related, are about as different as two boys born on the same day can be. And they don't get along. Nick cares mostly about sports and basketball is his passion. Ned is crazy about bugs and lives out West in a national park, three hours' drive from the nearest basketball court. The other three teammates figure that as long as they don't actually have to use Ned in a game they will be fine. Then Mark sprains his ankle and can't play in the tournament. Suddenly Nick and Kia must find a way to make Ned an integral part of the team. This turns out to be no small task!
When Nick and Kia arrive for try-outs for the basketball team they played on the previous year, they are surprised to learn that their coach is retiring. The surprises continue when the new coach is introduced. Coach Barkley, a former college star known for his fierce desire to win, missed out on a pro career due to a serious injury. Though the coach has been away from the game for many years, his competitive instincts are as strong as ever and his aggressive coaching techniques are a new experience for these kids. Practices are long and hard and not nearly as much fun as they used to be. Suddenly making the rep team no longer seems the sure thing that Nick and Kia expected when they came to try-outs. The new coach expects near perfection from the youngsters and does not deal well with anything less. This is hard on Nick and Kia, but especially difficult for the coach's son, L.B., who is also trying out for the team.When the coach matches them up against a team of older players and then refuses to accept their loss, the kids begin to wonder if they even want to make this team. Nick, Kia and L.B. finally have to decide whether to play for a tyrant or to take a stand on principle and face the consequences. Book 4 in the series.
Readers of Hoop Crazy will remember Ned as the bug-loving beanpole who lives in an isolated national park out West, three hours from the nearest basketball court. But Ned's participation in the three-on-three tournament when he visited Nick has sparked his interest in the game and now he and his father have built their own basketball court in the wilderness. And Ned's hoop skills have improved considerably. Nick and Kia are just beginning to get the hang of life in the wilderness when disaster strikes. A raging forest fire threatens to destroy Ned's home and cut off their escape.