Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Monday--What Am I Reading? Sports Books, Of Course!

There's a great meme out there called It's Monday--What Are You Reading? in which a lot of kidlit bloggers talk about what they are currently reading or have read in the last week. (you can find out more at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers) The Iron Guy has been so busy lately that he hasn't had a chance to review anything but he hates to go a long time without talking to you, so here are a few things I'm looking at now:

Legends: The Best Players, Teams and Games in Basketball by Howard Bryant

It's March and the thoughts of young men, middle-aged men, boys and old geezers turn to BASKETBALL! The regional tournaments have just finished and the Madness is about to begin, so what subject could be better than roundball? I've read the first chapter and it's really good--among other things, it talks about Wilt Chamberlain, the only player to have scored 100 points in a single game. And this was in days before three points shots! I've read Mr. Bryant's books about football and baseball, enjoyed them a lot and I think I'll enjoy this one too.

Soccer and Soccer on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne

All guys, especially younger reader guys, know how addicting The Magic Tree House books are. Ms. Osborne has also written some nonfiction books to go along with them. I read the Soccer book and learned a lot. Can't wait to read the Soccer on Sunday book because it's about Pele, soccer's greatest star.

OK, everyone, this is my check in. Now tell me--what are YOU reading? The Iron Guy and all the other reader guys out there want to know! Hit that Comment button under this post and let us know.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Iron Guy Talks Books with a Bunch of Cool Guys

Damond Ford, the Iron Guy and all the MANLY MEN at the Boys Club
March greetings, everyone! This month is always great but let me tell about something that happened last month. The Iron Guy got invited to address a bunch of boys in the Boys and Girls Club of York County--Fort Mill, South Carolina, just over the NC/SC border near Charlotte. The head of this group is Damond Ford, a truly great guy. He runs a program for the Boys Club called Password to MANhood, which teaches boys to become responsible men. Damond asked me to bring some books about growth and change, so, after mentally checking through the enormous files of books stored in my MANLY brain, I came up with a few good titles, checked them out and took them down to Fort Mill.

There I found Damond and about 15 boys. They had just started the newest session of the program and the plan was for me to talk about several growth-and-change books. They would pick one and talk about it over the next 12 weeks. But first, we all talked about what it means to be a man and everyone agreed that it included:

Taking responsibility
Doing your best
Overcoming obstacles
Being respectful and considerate to others

(Anyone who tells you differently is WRONG!)

Then I shared several books with them. (I'll show you the list with you in a little bit) After a while, they finally decided on N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley. Does that sound like an odd choice? It might at first but think about it--the main character, a cool and popular guy, starts off by picking on all the nerdy kids in his school. Later on, when he's forced to join them to fight the villain, he understands them, takes responsibility for changing his attitude and learns to respect them. Not to mention he needs to do his best and overcome the obstacles the villain has set up for them. So not only is the book fun, it also has a good message about growth and change.

Here is the list of books I took with me. Some are fiction, some are biographies and one is nonfiction. All of them deal with growth, change, doing your best, overcoming obstacles, etc.---and they are all terrific reads!

N.E.R.D.S. by Michael Buckley--as I said, a whole of fun to read with a good message as well. See my review here.

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry--one of the best books about growth and change I've ever read and one of the most thrilling stories I've ever read too! (It was also the first book I ever reviewed on this blog--check it out here)

The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight by Tony DiTerlizzi--everyone knows how Luke grew from a farm boy who plays with a toy starship to a true Jedi Knight and this captures that story in one book. Plus the artwork is amazing! (see review here)

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings--I didn't take this book with me but I have to include it because it's the best book I know about growing from an irresponsible boy to an adult. Yes, it's long but it's an epic story and you really get caught up in this boy's life. (see my review here)

Who Was...Roberto Clemente, Louis Armstrong, Muhammad Ali and Julius Caesar--four from the great Who Was...biographies and all of them are incredible stories of  true life. See reviews here, here and here--have not reviewed the Louis Armstrong book yet)

The Boys in the Boat: The True Story of an American's Team's Epic Journey to Win Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown--I can't say enough good things about this one! See my review here.

All right, all you guys and grownups, go check these out!  I've always said that reading is not only fun but also prepares you for life. These books are proof! And Damond (plus all you other cool guys in the Boys Club) let me hear from you while you read this book. Would love to hear what you think!

Cool guys doing the Dab

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Good Quick Reads About Sports

Hey there, guys and sports fans everywhere, this is Iron Guy Carl with a bunch of good books that are fun, interesting (even informative) and don't take very long to finish. I call books like that Good Quick Reads.
Ever since our good friend Ms. Yingling challenged book bloggers to talk more about sports books, the Iron Guy decided to take her up on that challenge. In fact, he even made it a New Year's resolution. So here are my first offerings for 2017:

Free Throw by Jake Maddox--Last year Jason was the tallest kid on the Hampton Hornets and was the star player. But this year, Derek grew five inches and is now the tallest. Coach gives him the center position but now, when Derek has open shots, Jason won't pass the ball to him. And now Derek can't hit his free throws and Jason keeps reminding him about it. Could the team win with all this going on?

Who Is Wayne Gretzky? by Gail Herman, illustrated by Ted Hammond

All guys seem to love the Who Was... or Who Is... series of biographies. And there's a good reason! They are always interesting, always quick to read and always have stories that really draw you in. And they often talk about amazing people. Like Wayne Gretzky. He was a truly incredible athlete, setting unbelievable records. Find out how young he was when he first started skating, why he was called "The Great One," and why he gave the Stanley Cup trophy to another player in 1987.

Who Is Muhammed Ali? by James Buckley, Jr. and illustrated by Stephen Marchesi

Everyone knows about the man who could "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." He lived an epic life, achieving victories no one thought possible, losing it all when he refused to sign up for the Vietnam War and making comeback after comeback. It's a great story and, even if you think you know a lot about him, like the Iron Guy who lived through that whole era, you'll still find out things you never knew! (PS--this book came out in 2014 and Ali has died since then. The book cover you see has been updated in the library's system)

Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet by Jonah Winter, illustrated by C. F. Payne

This is an extremely short biography (I read it in about 15 minutes) but, wow, what an impact it had on me! Mickey Mantle set records that have not been broken to this day! But he didn't start out with many advantages--in fact, his home was a "tiny shack with ten people, three beds and no indoor plumbing." Yet he was asked to join the New York Yankees, the greatest team of that time, when he was 16! He was too young, of course, but joined when he was old enough--then an accident happened that affected him for life. What was it? Oh, man, you've got to read this story to find out!

Boys, if you want to read some terrific stories, here they are. Grownups, if you're looking for books for boys who say they don't like to read, hand them one of these. I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Once Again--What Do Boys LOVE?

Here it is again, guys. It's February. Time for that cringeworthy holiday. You know which one I mean. The one dedicated to all the things that make Manly Men cringe. Stuff like kissing and romance and looovveee. Yeesh! It's enough to make us run and hide until February 15. But have no fear, boys--the Iron Guy is here to turn your minds from all the (shudder!) romantic scenes all around us.
How MANLY MEN  view romance!

Every few years I write a post about this time that talks about love, as I did in 2014. But not all the mushy looovveee scenes that's surround us now--I write about things that GUYS would LOVE. What do you think they might be?

Extra large cheeseburgers

Yep, that's extra large

Space movies with lots of things that blow up

Pretty much anything with superheroes or pirates


And, based on what you have told me in the past, boys love these book series:

Harry Potter and Percy Jackson (of course!)

The Sea Of Monsters

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society

How about it, guys? Can you think of any others?? Or how about a book you love that not part of a series? Write in and tell us! I have some door hangers for any one who does.

So tell us about a book or books you LOVE and I'll make sure you get one of these. But don't waste your time--tell us soon because that holiday is right around the corner!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The First Terrific Books of 2017

Hey guys, in the last post, I said I was about to finish a really good book and couldn't wait to tell you about it. Well, I finished it yesterday and it's soooo great that I'm really excited about it. Actually, it's the second book in a series, so that means you get to hear about two books in one post. Yes, I know that's generous but that's just how the Iron Guy is!

These terrific reads are the first two books in The Hero's Guide to... series by the amazing Christopher Healy. The first one is The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and the second is The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle.
Wow. Wow. Wow! Were these ever FUN!!

You know the stories of Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella? Who were the princes in those stories, hmmm? It was Prince Charming, right? WRONG!! There were actually FOUR princes and not one of them was named Charming--the bards who sang those stories just thought that was more convenient. So what do you really know about them? And about the princesses? Oh, you'd be SURPRISED! One prince would faint at the sight of a wrinkle on his clothes. Another was as big as three football players and charged into situations before thinking about them. And the princesses--what were they like? Well, it would take too long to explain but one prince had a good reason to run when he woke up Sleeping Beauty!

Are you interested now? Well, let me tell you quickly what happens. In the first one, a witch has captured all the bards in the kingdoms and plans to execute them all, so the princes (and the princesses) have to rescue them. In the second, they all have to find and extricate a jeweled sword with a malevolent gem from the Bandit King's castle. Of course, in both these books, NOTHING goes as planned. There are big (and hilarious!) surprises at every turn. And in every kingdom. And in every forest and country road. Along the way, you'll meet a giant with impeccably good manners, find out what trolls really like to eat, and cross a moat full of bladejaw eels.

Guys, do you want action? It's here! Do you want comedy? It's here too. Do you want action and comedy at the same time?? Oh, man, you'll get as much as you would ever want! I can't begin to tell you how much fun you will have reading these books!! So why wait? Go check them out NOW!

There are also audiobook versions. Those would be incredible! And there's one more book in the series--The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw. I'd love to read that one too but need to move on to some other things--like sports books. I'll get back to it one day but if any of you boys get to it before I do, write in and tell us about it. (but no spoilers!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Simple Resolution for 2017

Belated greetings of the new year, guys! The Iron Guy is sorry to have taken so long to post but the first few weeks of the new year are always busy. But I hope to make up for it. And I'll start right away.

A lot of grownups start the new year with resolutions, that is, with commitments to yourself to do something better. Some people want to lose weight, exercise more, stop a bad habit, etc. The Iron Guy usually makes resolutions about what kind of stuff to read, as I did in 2014. I got the idea for this year's resolution from our good friend Ms. Yingling. She wrote a post about a football book called Left Out and challenged bloggers to read more sports books, especially sports fiction. What a great idea! Boys---Sports. It's a natural combination. So why haven't I read more sports books over the years? Such an obvious connection and I missed it! The Iron Guy hangs his head in shame---but only for a moment! Here's a chance to correct that oversight. The Charlotte Meckelnburg library system has lots and lots and lots of books, both fiction and nonfiction, about sports that guys would love. Therefore, Ms. Yingling, I will take you up on your challenge! The books are out there---bring them on!! (I have one already--Free Throw by Jake Maddox. I haven't read it yet but I know his books are quick and good)

Actually, this is a long-term resolution for all of 2017. There are so many sports books that it would take a long time to read even a small amount of them.  Besides, I've got a few other things to do soon. I've got plans for a couple of things on the blog this year. And I'm going to finish a really fun book soon and I can't wait to tell you about it. Then I've got one really, really big (and scary!) project planned for this year that will test the Iron Guy's MANLY MANLINESS to the very limits. What is it? You've got to stay tuned to find out!

The Iron Guy--he loves books, he loves sports.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a very Happy New Year! 2016 was a great year for reading I have no doubt that 2017 will be just as exciting. What were your favorites this year? What do you look forward to reading next year? Write in and tell us and have a--


The iron Guy is excited about great new reading in 2017!