Happy Friday, everyone! Can you believe that February is already almost over?! It’s crazy…it really, really is. However, on the plus side – spring is *definitely* trying to make an appearance, at least where I live. Bulbs are starting to grow, flowers are beginning to make their first tentative appearances, the weather is getting incrementally better…I mean, honestly – this needs to be the first thing on the agenda for #FeelGoodFriday!
Next up – did you hear about Sabrina Ionescu? If you don’t follow sports – women’s college sports, in particular – and don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, you may not have. But this woman did something *amazing*. Record-breaking, in fact – and only hours after speaking at Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service. She became the first (and only) NCAA player – male OR female – to earn 2000 points, 1000 rebounds, and 1000 assists within a college career. It’s pretty damn impressive, and kudos to her!!
Most of us are probably pet lovers of one stripe or another. I have a dog, 2 foster dogs (https://stillmorewords.com/2020/02/13/it-starts-small-and-it-starts-with-us/), 3 cats, plus another that lives on our front porch. Seriously – he decided he wanted to be an outdoor cat, so he has a house WITH A HEATING PAD on our front porch. Some life, right?? *Anyway*…the Wisconsin Humane Society decided to do a fundraiser a few days ago, and it was SO POPULAR, they had to shut it down early. Click on the link to see why – and be prepared for some adorable (and amusing!) pictures…I’m thinking they should replicate this everywhere??
And one last little giggle, because HEY! IT’S FRIDAY! I hope you all have a *wonderful* weekend, and that you also begin to see some signs of spring. To me, it’s the season of hope, and couldn’t we all use a little of that right now?
Kobe Bryant was a legend on the court, and in some ways, off of it as well. But not a lot of people knew that he had books out as well – specifically, books for kids that centered around sports. I’m honestly not sure how much he had to do with the writing – my belief is that he created the idea for each story, and then had an author actually fill in the blanks. This article seems to show a bit about how that process worked for different books:
In Legacy and the Queen, we find a girl whose home has become an orphanage, whose father can barely keep food on the table for all his charges, and a country that has been united under one ruler. Legacy, however, just wants to play tennis – and when her father refuses to allow her, and instead plans to send her best friend to work in the mines, she runs away to try and get a scholarship to the best tennis academy there is. Upon arrival, however, Legacy learns that she’s looked down on for where she came from, that magic is not as hidden as she had supposed – and that some secrets should never have been buried.
It’s not a long book – perfect for the hesitant reader, or for reading out loud in a classroom/library setting. It’s an interesting story, and one that promotes friendship as well. Honestly, I ended up liking it more than I anticipated – there was something about the name “Kobe Bryant” being attached that sort of turned me off in the beginning – primarily, because it felt like there must have been an arrogant ego attached to anyone who assumed they could just…whip out a book that would be any good. And, I think part of me assumed that because the books are SO COOL LOOKING…all that flash must have been to make up for a deficiency within the story. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Legacy was a great story, one I started and didn’t want to finish. I definitely would have loved to read more about her, had Kobe not passed. I don’t know where that leaves his burgeoning book publishing, but it is just one more tragedy piled upon tragedy that this sports fiction niche may now go unfulfilled.
That brings me to another neat part about these books. Finding good middle-reader titles about other sports besides *football* can be hard to do. These books help young athletes find books that they can relate to – in Legacy, it is tennis. And I will be the first to admit, I know ZERO about that sport. However, it didn’t matter to the overall enjoyment and immersion of the story. Having said that, I would be willing to bet that a reader who actually *knows* about tennis would find that some of the details contained in the book would only enhance their personal enjoyment.
Above, I mentioned that the books are pretty cool looking? Well, I don’t normally include extra photos in my reviews, but…YOU HAVE TO SEE.
Basically, whoever did his design for not only this book, but the others? Did a bang-up job. Kids love this sort of stuff, and so do adults like myself. It sets the books apart from others on the shelf, and gives them an aura that so many cannot match. They really are *very* cool.
Most middle-grade readers would enjoy this – there is a hint of fantasy about it, a bit of magic and some pretty amazing creatures. But that part is light, and the story revolves more around Legacy’s attempt to win her spot, the friends she makes, and trying to right an old wrong that gets discovered. For sure a great addition to any school library or classroom shelves, and I can say that I will be looking for more of Kobe’s titles to read myself.
I will admit it. I’m not a big basketball fan. I mean, I appreciate my home team (Portland Trailblazers), and I enjoy a good game when it happens to be on, but…that’s about it. I’ve never closely followed brackets or players, and I rarely know when players switch from one team to another. Having said THAT, there are some names that transcend the sport of basketball. Kobe Bryant was one of them.
Did I *know* Kobe? Not anymore than the legions of true fans did. What I knew of Kobe Bryant, the basketball legend, was from the news and social media and watercooler chats about last night’s game. And yet – I mourn his loss, and that of his daughter, just the same.
Some people will claim that mourning a celebrity is stupid, wasteful, accomplishes nothing. I dispute that claim. I say that sometimes, those celebrities are such larger-than-life figures, that we feel we *do* know them. We feel that, irregardless of their money and talent, they are like us in more ways than not. And so we mourn not only their passing, but the death that is coming for us all one day. We grieve for a life that had so much *life* left to give – until the time that it didn’t. And in this case, we see a proud father who probably spent his last moments consoling his daughter and praying that even if he didn’t make it, she would. Who among us cannot feel that pain, and know in the depths of our hearts how frightened he was for his child?
We also mourn for the family left behind – the wife and kids who were not on the trip that day, now left without their husband, their father, their sibling. And we know that, someday, that will be *our* family, saying goodbye to us.
Did I know Kobe Bryant? No. Do I mourn his passing, so suddenly and with him so young? Yes. And I don’t think that makes me ridiculous or weak or silly. I think it shows that I have a heart, and I can feel empathy for his family and friends. That I can say goodbye to all that he had to offer. And ultimately, that I understand death comes for us all – and we never know when, or how, or where.