A 10-year-old girl practices focusing her energy in order to earn a nickname as a boxer in this true story, accessibly told by Mach (Matteo Wants to See What’s Next, 2017, etc.) and Stroup-Rentier (MyaGrace Wants to Make Music, 2017, etc.) as part of their Finding My World series, with photographs by series collaborator Birdsell.
Claire and her mother decide to channel the child’s abundant energy by learning to box together. Their coach, Vivian, has “different sight ability” and travels with her service dog, Catcher. When Catcher’s wearing his harness, Claire knows she can’t play with him, but when it comes off, she can pet him. The book uses approachable vocabulary to depict warm-ups, shadow boxing, and using punching bags, while Claire wonders what her boxing name will be. Mach and Stroup-Rentier highlight positive strategies for self-control: Claire finds good ways to direct her energy and to refocus so she can pay attention, such as by playing with Catcher or doing a cartwheel. The story is intentionally inclusive, noting Vivian’s sight ability and Claire’s facial difference, and it delivers its messages effortlessly. Birdsell also provides action-packed photos that capture Claire’s spirit and enthusiasm. Newly independent readers will find Claire to be a sympathetic narrator.
Libraries looking to add to their inclusive nonfiction offerings will find this one a winner.