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Salt In His Shoes

Last updated Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Author: Deloris and Roslyn Jordan
Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 0689833717
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2007

Synopsis: From Michael Jordan's mother and sister team up for an inspirational story about this athlete's earliest on-court efforts... In the opening scenario, a bully intimidates young Jordan during a basketball game at a neighborhood park, causing him to flub a pass. Michael tells his older brothers, "I am really sorry, guys. If I were taller that wouldn't have happened." When he asks his mother what will make him grow, she advises him to put salt in his shoes and say a prayer every night. Though he obliges--and continues to practice shooting baskets at home--his efforts don't immediately pay off. One day, his father convinces him that, rather than being tall, "practice, determination, and giving your best" are the keys to being "a real winner," and Michael runs off to join his brothers in the park, where he makes the game's winning shot.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at/reading the cover: What do you think the story is about?
•  Do you know who Michael Jordan is?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What game does Michael love to play? What game do you love to play?
•  Talk about sportsmanship: Is Mark a good sport?
•  Why does Michael feel bad?
•  What is Michaels dream/wish? Why does he want this? Have you ever wished to be taller (or older, etc)?
•  What does Michaels mom put in his shoes to make him taller? Do you think this will work?
•  What else do Michael and his mom do every night to help him grow?
•  Did Michael grow taller quickly? Do you ever get impatient when things dont happen quickly? When?
•  According to Michaels father, what does it take to be a winner?
•  While Michael was waiting to grow, what does he do?
•  Did Michael allow Marks teasing to stop him from getting better?
•  Does Michael get taller? What happens at the game?
•  What did Michael continue to do even after his mom stopped putting salt in his shoes?
•  Does Michaels dream come true?
•  Do you have a dream like Michael? What is it?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of your dream or Michaels dream. Draw how you can make that dream come true.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!