Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream

by Deloris Jordan (Author) Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Michael Jordan.
The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he'd never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That's when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion -- patience, determination, and hard work.
Deloris Jordan, mother of the basketball phenomenon, teams up with his sister Roslyn to tell this heartwarming and inspirational story that only the members of the Jordan family could tell. It's a tale about faith and hope and how any family working together can help a child make his or her dreams come true.

Publishers Weekly

Michael Jordan's mother and sister team up for an inspirational story about this athlete's earliest on-court efforts. Nelson (Big Jabe) is also a strong player here; he contributes animated art, rendered in a cartoon style that is informal yet polished. In the opening scenario, a bully intimidates young Jordan during a basketball game at a neighborhood park, causing him to flub a pass. Michael tells his older brothers, "I am really sorry, guys. If I were taller that wouldn't have happened." When he asks his mother what will make him grow, she advises him to put salt in his shoes and say a prayer every night. Though he obliges--and continues to practice shooting baskets at home--his efforts don't immediately pay off. One day, his father convinces him that, rather than being tall, "practice, determination, and giving your best" are the keys to being "a real winner," and Michael runs off to join his brothers in the park, where he makes the game's winning shot. Though the book ends with a rather facile slam-dunk, the authors offer authoritative insight into this six-foot-six-inch-tall hoopster's boyhood spunk as well as reassurance to young athletes impatient for a growth spurt. Nelson handily balances in-your-face on-court action with more reflective portraits of the player's inner growth. All ages. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4-Deloris Jordan tells of an episode in her famous son's childhood in which the future superstar yearned to be a better basketball player. Michael wished to be taller so that he could compete with the bigger kids, particularly one member of an opposing team. His mother suggested that a combination of salt in his shoes, patience, and prayer would do the trick. Michael, seeing his mother's success with plants, agreed to give it a try, but after several months, he was disappointed to see that he was still the same size. While his mother prayed, he practiced instead of playing but still he didn't grow. When he told his father that he needed to be taller, his father explained that he was already a great player because of his heart, and that "practice, determination, and giving your best" were the things that made someone a winner. Michael returned to playing basketball and made the winning basket for his brothers' team. This readable and entertaining story will delight the superstar's fans. Nelson's illustrations bring the right blend of vivid color, realism, and personality, giving youngsters plenty of details to pore over between readings. It should read aloud well for younger children and their parents, and independent readers will enjoy it on their own.-Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH Copyright 2001 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Chicago" magazine An inspiring piece of Jordaniana.
Deloris Jordan
Deloris Jordan is Michael Jordan's mother and the coauthor of Salt in His Shoes and Michael's Golden Rules, illustrated by Kadir Nelson; Did I Tell You I Love You Today?, illustrated by Shane W. Evans; and Dream Big, illustrated by Barry Root. She is also the author of Family First: Winning the Parenting Game, a book highlighting the seven principles of parenting. Through her work with the James R. Jordan Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, as well as the Jordan Institute for Families at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mrs. Jordan is widely regarded as an advocate for children and families. The mother of five children and the grandmother of eleven, Mrs. Jordan lives in Chicago.

Barry Root is the illustrator of many books for children, including Gumbrella, which he also wrote; Dream Big; By My Brother's Side; and Game Day, which received a Christopher Award in the category of books for young people. He lives with his family in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication date
November 20, 2000
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Winner 2002 - 2002
Golden Sower Award
Winner 2004 - 2004
Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award
Winner 2002 - 2003

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