Written by Erin Fry
The most unlikely kid finds comfort by running. Bennett Robinson and his dad bonded over baseball games and hamburgers, talking more about the Dodgers than his mom’s death from cancer. They seemed to bond over food, too, because both of them were obese. Then Dad had a stroke and Bennett knew that Dad’s weight had a lot to do with it. Pushy Aunt Laura took over. She took over his meals and his life, but Bennett didn’t have anyone else now. Dad was stuck at the rehab center and the insurance was running out. At school there was the bully who wouldn’t leave him alone. The next thing Bennett knew, Aunt Laura planned out an exercise routine for him, manipulating him with his concern for Dad. Bennett tried walking. He sort of liked it and kept doing it. He saw a flyer for cross-country track. His life already had so many changes, what was one more? But Bennett had to wonder if he was setting himself up to fail big time. He found the strength to persevere. He had to make this happen for Dad and him. He didn’t see what an amazing thing he was doing…until he did it.
The power of love is at the heart of this story. Bennett found the courage to exercise to make his life better so he could take care of his father and show him a healthier way. Bennett also had to learn that he could ask for – and receive – help. There are plenty of life lessons to talk about in a discussion group. The reading level is easy enough that it could be a class novel or book club selection. Draw in readers with a nicely done book trailer on YouTube: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFzxWnt33YM). The author is a teacher so there are literacy activities in the curriculum guide on the author’s website: (http://erinmfry.com/for-teachers/).