Moon RunnerMina loves her group of friends. Every day they trade their Friendship Ball, adding bits of multicolored yarn to the growing ball. They are each different: Ruth is the athlete, Sammy loves to collect bugs, Alana is the best reader, and Mina is the New Friend. But one day, Coach Lombard asks all the 4th and 5th graders to try out for track: the high jump, the long jump, the fifty meter dash, the team relays.
by Carolyn Marsden.
MA: Candlewick Press, 2005. 97 pages.
ages 8 - 12.
At first, Mina feels like a tortoise lumbering along, but soon she imagine "a roadrunner skipping along on tall, skinny legs." She starts enjoying running, and begins sailing along. "By the third lap, she remembered her favorite dream of flying off a snowy cliff and over a landscape speckled with pools of turquoise water." Mina actually is a great runner - and she almost beats Ruth. When she ties Ruth in the 50-meter sprint, Mina worries that their friendship will suffer. Should she lose on purpose, if that will save their friendship?
This is a short but heart-felt book, perfect for girls this age dealing with the importance of friendship issues. Mina is a sympathetic and believable character, and middle grade readers (in 3rd through 5th grades) will recognize her struggles as ones they see at school all the time.
Moon Runner is available at the Berkeley Public Library and the Oakland Public Library. You can find it in paperback at Amazon, as well.
This review was written by Mary Ann Scheuer for Great Kid Books. Copyright 2009.