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Henry Holton Takes the Ice by Sandra Bradley

How to be True to Yourself  

Henry Holton Takes the Ice by Sandra Bradley with iHenry-Holton-cvr.jpgllustrations by Sara Palacios, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99, Ages 5-8).

Henry Holton’s family is obsessed by hockey. His father, mother, big sister, twenty-three cousins and even his grandmother all play or have played hockey. The only question there seemed to be about Henry after he was born was if he was going to be left or right wing. There was absolutely no question that Henry was going to be great on the ice! From his first day on the ice Henry really was a natural.

As author Sandra Bradley tells us, Henry was a natural at swishing, swooshing, and swaggering. However, he was not a natural at hockey. From the moment the hockey stick was placed in his hands when he was a very little boy he felt that hockey was not for him. Even as he got older skating was what he loved to do. Hockey was boring to him. What was the point in going up and down the rink if you couldn’t skate beautifully? Henry’s parents and big sister find Henry’s lack of interest in hockey inexplicable.

One day Henry sees a poster for an ice dancing club. It’s not hockey, but Henry’s mom agrees that they can go and watch. What Henry sees on the ice in ice dancing is exactly what he wants to do! He doesn’t want to play hockey anymore. Henry wants to ice dance! Henry’s family has their doubts, but just when you think that Henry will never get his chance to do what the reader knows he was just born to do a surprising person steps in to take Henry’s side.

This picture book shows the importance of staying true to who you really are. The lovely illustrations by Sara Palacios of the red headed Holton family brighten up the icy background. A helpful glossary of hockey terms is located at the back of the book. We all need to be reminded that it’s more than okay to be who you are. In fact, that is exactly who you were meant to be! Henry Holton Takes the Ice is a sweet, sensitively told story that speaks straight to the heart.

Click here to read about Pura Belpré Honor Award Winner, illustrator Sara Palacios’ other book, Twas Nochebuena written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong.

Learn more about ice dancing here.

– Reviewed by Hilary Taber

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