One Last Shot Blog Tour
Have you ever had students that you could tell were trying really hard to be into something that they just, well, weren't? I see it a lot in movies and TV shows - a teenage kid forcing himself to enjoy watching football because he wants to make that connection with his dad. As a teacher, and a parent, we all know how imperative those relationships are (meaning healthy, good relationships) with their parents. This is a story that addresses just that, and much, much more.
Malcolm has never felt like he has good enough, for much really. He tried, he really did, but his parents were always at each other and Malcolm was well, caught in the middle. As I'm sure most of our own students are. In the end though, the connection he was missing the most, was with his dad. Considering he felt as though he didn't share any similarities with him - it drove a bigger wedge between them. Malcom's father was the typical up and coming sport star who never made it, so he puts all that pressure on Malcom. Which didn't work.
THEN, Malcom discovers one thing he is good at - miniature golf. Not your typical go-to sport, but he enjoyed it, a lot. Malcom practices a lot, even gets lessons from a one time friend of his fathers with a wish-washy career as pro-golfer at one point in his life.
Not only does Malcom find solace in playing miniature golf, but at the course he practices at he meets Lex. Malcom, who always struggled to make friends, clicks with Lex, who we find out also struggles in the friend making department. Everything seems to be coming together as his father is happier with Malcom, but his parents are still arguing.
Malcom's father eventually signs him up for a tournament and then the plot really thickens - will Malcom be successful? Will he continue this upward slope of creating a relationship with his father? Will his parents stop bickering, or what will come from there? Will Malcolm be able to maintain a friendship considering he never has really before?
I am genuinely impressed with the topics covered in One Last Shot - the title even gives space for a lot of reflection of how it relates to the deeper story line. Students of mine are going to be able to relate to parents bickering, to not feeling enough, and even to not being able to make friends easily. As a 5th grade teacher, I see that last one a lot more often that I ever really thought I would. I think as adults we just think, "Oh kids will make friends with anyone and keep friends," but for some that is most definitely not the case. I enjoy stories that provide that sense of understanding that it's okay, but a friend will come along. I also know that a lot of my students come from divorced families/separated/witness parents arguments, and they carry that with them. They expect that to be their fault always, when it hardly ever has anything to do with the kids themselves.
Overall, I am so impressed. I can't wait to book talk and get into the hands of young readers. John David Anderson has quickly become a favorite author of mine.
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About the book:
The beloved author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day and Posted returns with a humorous, heartwarming story of family, friendship, and miniature golf.
For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt like he was good enough. Not for his parents, who have always seemed at odds with each other, with Malcolm caught in between. And especially not for his dad, whose competitive drive and love for sports Malcolm has never shared.
That is, until Malcolm discovers miniature golf, the one sport he actually enjoys. Maybe it’s the way in which every hole is a puzzle to be solved. Or the whimsy of the windmills and waterfalls that decorate the course. Or maybe it’s the slushies at the snack bar. But whatever the reason, something about mini golf just clicks for Malcolm. And best of all, it’s a sport his dad can’t possibly obsess over.
Or so Malcolm thinks.
Soon he is signed up for lessons and entered in tournaments. And yet, even as he becomes a better golfer and finds unexpected friends at the local course, be wonders if he might not always be a disappointment. But as the final match of the year draws closer, the tension between Malcolm’s parents reaches a breaking point, and it’s up to him to put the puzzle of his family back together again.
About the Author
John David Anderson is the author of some of the most beloved and highly acclaimed books for kids in recent memory, including the New York Times Notable Book Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Posted, Granted, Sidekicked, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wonderful wife and two frawsome kids in Indianapolis, Indiana. He’s never eaten seven scoops of ice cream in a single sitting, but he thinks it sounds like a terrific idea. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org. ONE LAST SHOT by John David Anderson, published by Walden Pond Press, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN: 978-0062643926
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