#SportBookOfTheMonth – Sakamoto’s Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory

Title: Sakamoto’s Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory

Author: Julie Abery

Pages: 40

Reading age: 5-8

Description: When the children of workers on a 1930s Maui sugar plantation were chased away from playing in the nearby irrigation ditches, local science teacher Soichi Sakamoto had an idea. He offered to take responsibility for the children—and then he began training them how to swim. Using his science background, Sakamoto devised his own innovative coaching techniques: he developed a strict practice regime for the kids, building their strength and endurance by using the ditch water’s natural current. The children worked hard under the dedicated Sakamoto’s guidance, and their skills improved. They formed a swim club and began to dominate in swimming events around the world. And then one day, the proud Sakamoto saw an impossible dream come true—Olympic gold! Beautifully told in spare rhyme and vibrantly illustrated, this informational picture book touches on themes of building perseverance, believing in oneself, and challenging stereotypes, while capturing how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others.



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