Many parts of this new story will likely make you soar with the touching narration by Jeremiah, a 12-year-old baseball fanatic and heart transplant survivor. He is funny, perceptive, and sees the world in ways others only understand after he explains. He speaks like an old soul, using the courage from his operation to guide his thoughts. His love of baseball and how it is played leads to many comparisons to everyday life.
Along for the ride is Walt, his adopted dad, who discovered baby Jeremiah at his workplace one morning. The mother had purposely left Jeremiah there hoping someone like Walt would care for him. Sounds rather unlikely but it happens. A baby was left at a school I taught at a few years ago.
When Walt takes a job in a different town, there are new friends both young and old, and a new doctor for Jeremiah. They each are eventually touched by the wisdom of this new boy in town.
With 43 short manageable chapters, this would make a great read-aloud. There’s one sub-plot I wish had more closure, but I know the world is not perfect.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 297
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Jeremiah is the world’s biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he’s told he can’t play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he’ll do the next best thing and become a coach.
Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It’s up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town – and the team – back in the game.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: SOAR by Joan Bauer
- No bullying. Jeremiah is accepted and kids are respectful toward one another. It does happen in real life if you look for it.
- Whether you love or despise the sport of baseball, themes of understanding, goal setting, and persistence will ring true for any reader. Soar is more a book about life.
- Kids who love robotics will enjoy the subplot here. Dad Walt programs robots for his job and Jeremiah often speaks to the robots as if they are human.
- Jeremiah must deal with leaving the one friend who understood him in his old town and trying to get that same connection with Franny, the girl who lives nearby in his new town. Thoughtfully brought to the pages with empathy and meaning.
- The insights into what a heart transplant patient must go through after the operation are revealing and handled in a way that should give hope to anyone facing an uphill battle. This due in a large part to how Jeremiah handles each step.
FAVORITE LINE: I’d just say to every kid who doesn’t want to go to school, if you’d been sick for a few years and couldn’t go much, like me, you might think about the whole experience differently.
AUTHOR QUOTE: I was born at eleven A.M., a most reasonable time, my mother often said, and when the nurse put me in my mother’s arms for the first time I had both a nasty case of the hiccups and no discernible forehead (it’s since grown in). I’ve always believed in comic entrances. (Read more at Joan Bauer’s Author Web Site)
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.