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WEI SKATES ON by Nathan Chen


by Nathan Chen ; illustrated by Lorraine Nam

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2023
ISBN: 9780063282827
Publisher: HarperCollins

Champion figure skater Chen tells the story of a young athlete whose first competition doesn’t go quite as planned.

In the author’s note, Chen shares that “Wei’s story is my story.” Indeed, Wei is Chen’s Chinese name, and the action of the book tracks with his much-hyped but disappointing turn in the 2018 Olympics, followed by a gold medal win in 2022. After years of preparation, Wei, an 8-year-old boy of Chinese heritage, is ready for his first competition. Then he falls during practice. That night, Wei is too consumed with fear to enjoy spicy rice noodles with his family. When Wei’s mother prompts him to be specific about the source of his fear, Wei finds that he is not scared of falling again, nor of being embarrassed. Instead, he admits, “I’m scared of not winning.” “Forget about winning,” his mother says and urges him to concentrate on what makes him happy. When he takes to the ice the next day, his focus shifts from victory to technique, artistry, and fun! Nam’s illustrations capture Wei’s charming family life but are most impressive when revealing his strength and beauty on the ice; full-bleed spreads feel like slow-motion breakdowns of each jump. Any reader who has had fun chased aside by the pressure of expectations will find solace in this tale. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An inspiring, invigorating story about the value of practice, perseverance—and joy!

(Picture book. 4-8)