We have an array of youth sports novels that would make great gifts to any young readers on your list. Hanging In There, by Brian Gotta is a great story of overcoming disappointment and brotherly love. Here is the first page:
Ted “Wildcat” Logan sat on the aluminum bleachers at Tigers Park watching a Youth League baseball game and thought about how his baseball career was going about as horribly as it possibly could.
And if that wasn't enough, now it looked like in a few weeks the rest of his life would be just as bad.
Ted had tried out for the Youth League when he was ten and when he was eleven. Both years he got cut and didn’t get to play. This season was the last one he was eligible to play in the league and he had been sure he was going to make it. He was twelve, and he’d been practicing during the winter with his dad and big brother, Gary. But when the time came to find his name on a roster, he’d been disappointed again.
When Gary, who played high school ball, learned that Ted still hadn’t made a team he got really mad. He decided to go talk to some of the coaches and see if there was an extra spot on a roster they could let Ted have, but their dad wouldn’t let him.
“He needs to make the team on his own and prove he deserves to be there. It doesn’t do him any good for us to come in and save the day,” Mr. Logan had said.
Ted's best friend, Mickey Baker was a star shortstop in the league, and his dad coached Mickey's team, the Yankees. Coach Baker had explained to Ted that when you get older it’s just harder to make the team.
“It’s not that you weren’t good,” he told him. “Most of the teams had nearly a full roster coming back from last season and it was hard for anyone to make it. But when coaches draft new players they usually want them to be ten or eleven so that they’ll have them on the team at least two years. If I hadn’t had my whole squad back I’d have picked you up for sure.”
So now, not only was Ted facing another summer without baseball, but in three weeks Gary would be leaving home and going off to college. And to top it all off, right about the same time that Gary would be going away, something else was going to happen. Ted, who was already one of the smallest boys in sixth grade, was going to have to leave the only school he'd ever gone to and move up to Wyatt Middle School where there would be a bunch of huge ninth graders.
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