Keep Going

My mother-in-law never ceases to amaze and inspire me.  She’s 99 years old and still drives her car.  At her last driver’s test she was told she could drive until she reaches 104!  Good genes play a large part in her having reached this age, but also her active lifestyle has added its benefits.  She still line dances and goes to aerobics three times a week.  She also plays and teaches Bridge, works in her gardens and visits her many friends.  She always cheerful and has a great sense of humor.


I try to follow her lead, but I’m not as steadfast in my fitness routines.  I find myself putting off going to the gym or even taking a walk in our neighborhood.  I do play golf, but nowadays most people ride in carts, me included. And most golf clubs insist you ride because it’s a source of revenue for them.


Anyway, to encourage us all the work out more, I’m presenting three books having to do with fitness and sports.  Hope you like the entries.


I know, I know, you’re saying, “Quit nagging!” But still maybe this will motivate us to get more exercise.


Be Fit, Be Strong, Be You

Rebecca Kajander and Timothy Culbert

Lots of good advice in this addition to the “Be the Boss of Your Body” series, which, for the most part, is written in a child friendly voice. The book is divided into five sections. Introduction: Your Awesome Body, gives an overview of what the reader will find in the book.  Body, Mind and Spirit: Health for the Whole Self talks about how interrelated your physical body, your mind and your spirit are.  The three aspects of you must be balanced for you to be truly healthy and happy.  Love That Person in the Mirror: Self Esteem suggests ways to think better of yourself.  What’s more important—the freckles on your face or the baby fat around your cheeks or the kindness you show to other people? The freckles on your face won’t matter to your real friends and the baby fat will disappear from your cheeks as you mature, but kindness to others will make everyone want to be your friend.  Find exercises in this book to help you understand the real you.  The Fantastic Food, Dude: Eat Right to Feel Right section explains about what foods are good for you and why some types of cholesterol raise the risk of heart disease.  One page has a list of what foods will help you have a healthy, strong body and there is information on calories in this chapter.   The last main section discusses how exercise plays a part in making you a healthy person by building stronger bones, heart, lungs, and muscles; sending more oxygen to your brain so you can perform better in school; making you more flexible and energetic; decreasing your levels of stress, anxiety and/or depression which allows you to sleep better and be happier.

BIBLIO: 2010, Free Spirit Publishing, Ages 8 to 13, $9.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Middle Reader

ISBN: 978-1-57542-307-4

ISBN: 1-57542-307-3


Baseball is my favorite sport to follow.  I love the feel of being in baseball stadium, listening to sounds of the game: the thunk of a ball hitting the catcher’s mitt, or the crack of wooden bat smacking a leather-covered ball toward the third base bleachers, or the call of the beer or hot dog vendor urging you to buy something.

I grew up rooting for the Washington Senators, but when we moved to the Baltimore area and Washington didn’t have a team, I switched to being a Baltimore Orioles fan.  Hence the orange color.

Super-Sized Slugger

Cal Ripken, Jr. and Kevin Cowherd

Spring is officially here!  The baseball books are in the book stores.  Cody Parker hates the hostile teasing he gets for his burly frame.  The bullies call him “fat boy” and even nastier names.  Plus nobody believes he can be a good baseball player.  The new kid in Baltimore, Cody tries out for third base only to discover he has competition from criminal-in-the-making Dante Rizzo.  When Cody does end up with the third base gig, he’s made an enemy for life.  Worse yet, Dante goes to the same school and when expensive items turn up missing he makes sure suspicion falls on Cody.  With his baseball prowess and likeable nature, he does make friends and solves the mystery of who’s the thief.  Mr. Cowherd tells a good story here and Cal Ripken, Jr’s baseball knowledge keeps the reader rooting for homers from home plate seats.  This second book in “Cal Ripken, Jr.’s All-Stars” series is a home-run.  The book is a jumping off point for discussions on confidence building, dealing with bullies, and baseball.

BIBLIO: 2012, Disney-Hyperion Books/Disney Book Group, Ages 10 to 13, $16.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Middle Reader

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4001-6


I grew up in a state where both soccer and lacrosse were big sports, even back in the 50s. Lacrosse never appealed to me, but I did like to play soccer.  Again, another sport to keep you physically fit.


Surprise Kick

Tad Kershner

Illustrated by Andrés Martinez Ricci

Written under the pen name of Zach Riley, the message of this book is to have confidence in yourself and to try real sports rather than just video games.  Cody is the champ at video soccer, regularly beating his best friend, Mud.  But when Cody’s parents take away his video game and insist he actually play soccer in a field, with real opponents, the protesting champ discovers real soccer is a different game entirely.  He feels his teammates don’t have his back and even Mud sort of abandons him, he thinks.  Even worse, he’s an awful player.  He keeps feeling sorry for himself and jealous of how well Mud is doing. But after hearing his grandfather tell stories of crashing in the jungles of Vietnam, Cody decides to stop complaining and start practicing.  Things start to get better for him and his team, eventually heading to the league championship game.  Of course Cody makes the winning goal, thrilled with the trophy he gets to take home.  His parents have a party for the team.  His mother says Cody and his teammates may play a soccer video game, but Cody opts for a real game of soccer.  Nice story, with lots of energy, but I find it strange for parents to be called by their given names when the action is from the child’s point-of-view.

BIBLIO: 2013, SportsZone/ABDO Publishing Company, Ages 8 to 12, $27.07.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT:  Middle Reader

ISBN: 978-1-61783-536-0


So think of me when you’re working out at the gym and I’ll think of you while I’m working out.  Together we’ll be svelte and healthy.  Even if we’re not destined to live to 104, at least we’ll be healthy until our time comes.  Please let me know what you think.

8 thoughts on “Keep Going

  1. Good post, Sarah. I have gotten lazy since I started writing. I still have to walk my dogs, but it’s not as intense as it should be. Thanks for the motivation!

    1. Thanks Sheri. I was quite fit when we had horses to take care of. How many dogs do you have? I’m sure you told me, but don’t remember. Our last dog was a spectacular German Shorthair Pointer. He was very athletic and loving and gorgeous to watch hunt. We do have a sometime cuddly cat named Kilroy, but he’s not keen on being walked. You and I will try to encourage each other, how about?

  2. Dear Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing about how to live to be 99 years old! Your Mother-in-Law sounds amazing!

    Thanks for putting my blog in your sidebar!

    Never Give Up

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