Books by Gary Hellman

THE KARATE WAY by Gary Hellman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2001

Sensei ("teacher" in Japanese) Hellman introduces what happens in a beginning karate class through the experiences of a boy whose mother takes him to his first class as a surprise. He spends a sleepless night worried by what he fears will be an unpleasant experience. This nameless boy doesn't do well in sports and has difficulty in school with "Killer Miller," the "toughest teacher" in his grade. When he get to karate school, he fears he will be "karate-chopped in half." Much to his delight, the teacher is friendly, the moves are fun, and the uniform is great. The biggest bonus is that after six months he learns to concentrate and his self-esteem has improved so much that he feels he can tackle other sports. Concentration also helps him to be a better student. A short glossary and the order of progression of karate belts complete the text. Recent educational theory suggests that martial arts may be useful to children who have difficulty focusing on academics, and this book seems written to support that view. However, in addition to supporting the theory, Hellman does well in describing a beginner's class for children and adults who are unfamiliar with the sport. His droll tone and humorous illustrations—don't miss the close-up of a mouth in a karate yell—keep the story from being didactic. (Picture book. 6-10)Read full book review >