By Denise Turney
Michael Jordan, the basketball star, is a man countless children dream of mimicking when it comes to performing on the basketball court. Even children, teens and adults who have no passion for basketball have referenced Michael Jordan when they spoke about achieving their dreams. It is no surprise that the children’s book Michael Jordan’s mother, Deloris, wrote titled Salt In His Shoes became a New York Times’ bestseller. And who to write a children’s book about Michael Jordan better than his mother. That fact lends a wealth of credibility to the story that allows readers to accept and embrace the story at once.
Salt In His Shoes shares a time in Michael Jordan’s life when he was a small boy trying to keep up with his younger brothers and older, taller boys in the neighborhood. Being shorter than the other boys who played basketball at a local outdoor court bothered young Michael. Due to his size Michael was unable to hit the winning shot in an important game. He felt he’d let his teammates down. While he walked home from the game with his older siblings, Michael told them, “I am really sorry, guys. If I were taller that wouldn’t have happened.” All the way home Michael kept apologizing to his brothers, both who were older and taller than he was. His brothers tried to cheer him up, but Michael couldn’t stop thinking about the shot he’d missed when a taller boy with an intimidating attitude was guarding him.
Somehow Michael got the idea that putting salt in his shoes would help him to grow. When that didn’t work, Michael became sadder. He told his parents that he wasn’t going to play basketball again until he grew taller. His father told him that giving his all counted a lot more than how tall he was, and Michael returned to the game. Before the summer was over, Michael hit the winning shot in a local outdoor game.
Because Michael Jordan went on to achieve remarkable success on the basketball court as well as off the court as a businessman, children may at first be surprised to learn that Michael Jordan once thought he didn’t have enough to get what he wanted, that he feared he didn’t have enough to achieve his dreams. Children, and parents too, will be encouraged to learn that nothing Michael tried worked except for his passion for the game and his giving his very best when he played. That is what made Michael a champion. That is what will encourage children as they read Salt In His Shoes.
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