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Chris Dreams BIG

by Chris Dudley and Chris Love-Dudley
Illustrated by Karl Edwards

     

Chris Dudley was the classic utility big man in the NBA. A solid performer, he had over 5,000 career rebounds and over 1,000 blocked shots, but never made an All-Star team. He was, however, the first type 1 diabetic to play in the NBA. He and his wife make an All-Star team of their own to give us Chris Dreams BIG, based on Chrisís own life.

Chris loves just being a kid, and dreams of being an NBA player.† Then one day, after not feeling so good, he is told by the doctor he has type 1 diabetes. However, this isnít a book about diabetes. Itís about what itís like to be the kid handed that challenge.

Adults tell him if he takes the right care of himself, he can still do the things he loves. But Chris gets nervous. (The real-life version of this was over 20 years ago when diabetes wasnít as common.) What if he starts to not feel good again? What if he isnít as good at basketball anymore? So he goes to talk with his coach and basketball team. Well, it turns out one of his teammates has asthma and needs an inhaler, another uses a hearing aid, and another has a sister who swims from her wheelchair. Between their examples and his coach telling him that he can still do what he wants just so long as he believes in himself, Chris is right back on the court. The book finishes off with the real Chris showing how his NBA dream came true, and encouraging kids to not let challenges keep them from their dreams. There are some fun interactive things included, like 6í11 adult Chris Dudley providing an actual footprint (across two pages) to show how big and strong he grew up despite the diabetes, and asking kids how big their feet are.

This is a great book to give to any kid whoís facing some kind of struggle, not just diabetes. One of the things I really like is that it has a very positive message but doesnít just sugarcoat things: Chris admits that even though he does all heís supposed to, there are still days he doesnít feel well. But knowing that others had challenges to deal with too, even if they werenít the same ones, helped him get through it. Thatís more important to a kid than some adults realize.

Karl Edwardsís illustrations are a great complement to the easy to understand text. Itís a serious subject, but the images are bright, appealing, realistic and easy for a kid to relate to and enjoy.

Highly recommended.

The Book

CCD Productions
April 2009
Hardcover picture book
978-0-9823224-0-6
Children's Fiction / Ages 4-8
More at Amazon.com
Excerpt
NOTE: November is Diabetes Awareness Month and a portion of the proceeds from sales of this book go towards supporting programs for people with diabetes through the Chris Dudley Foundation

The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2009
NOTE:
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