Title: Izzy Barr, Running Star
Author: Claudia Mills
Illustrator: Rob Shepperson
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books
Summary: Izzy Barr was the fastest girl in her class, but when her closest rival (and daughter of the PE teacher at school) gets new running shoes, Izzy begs her parents for the same pair. Her parents agree to buy a new pair of shoes, even though her old shoes are only a couple of months old. Now Izzy is sure she has everything she needs to win the Field Day Race and the 10K Race. But Izzy didn’t count on losing her biggest fan… her dad. Izzy’s dad has to split his time between Izzy and her half-brother Dustin. Izzy feels that her dad doesn’t really care about her, so she tells him not to come to her races. On Field Day, Izzy realizes her mistake, but is too proud to ask him to come. She gets distracted and comes in second. When she finally swallows her pride, Izzy leaves her dad a note on the day of the big 10K race. She’s not even sure if he’ll get the note in time. But she runs her best and wins the race. At the finish line, she sees her best friends, her mom, her brother, and her dad!
Literary Merit: This story ties in complicated family relationships with peer relationships in a mix of school activities, sports, and personal growth.
Kid Appeal: The third graders are funny and believable kids. The issues facing the kids are real and honest.
Disclaimer: This book was nominated for the 2015 CYBILS Award in the Early Chapter Book category. This review is shared as part of the Round One Judging. It is solely my own opinion and not influenced by any other parties.