Cody and the Heart of a Champion
(for ages 7-10)
By Tricia Springstubb
Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Available in hardcover, audio and e-book.
Barnes & Noble
Springstubb does a fantastic job of identifying things that are difficult for elementary school students, but which adults may have forgotten. Yes, we know that friends moving away if difficult, but it's easy to forget the pain of having to give up that favorite piece of clothing. I understood completely the attachment that Cody had to her jacket, but would never have thought about it so thoroughly!
The accompanying illustrations are charming and hit a sweet spot between elementary and early middle school, which makes it easy to hand this to children who only want to read graphic novels. The cover doesn't look too "babyish", and the small trim size makes this seem cozy and easy!
As Cody gets older, we don't see as much of her family. This is realistic, but I do so enjoy them! I adore Wyatt, her older brother, and it's fun to hear Cody's impressions of his girlfriend, whom she calls P.U. (Her name is Payton Underwood.) Sibling relationships are so important for young readers, and I can always use more books centering around them.
Cody's new interest in soccer is well-done, because it is not easy for her. As she is spending less time with her family, it makes sense that she is branching out into different actitivies. Cody is a great series to give to readers who like Meyerhoff's The Friendshp Garden, Haywood's classic B is for Betsy, or who aren't quite ready for Morgan's Soccer Sisters because they themselves just started playing! – Karen Yingling, school librarian, YA and Kids Book Central
Navigating tricky friendship ups and downs is a challenge, but Cody's older brother, Wyatt, remains her stalwart supporter, and her long-distance-trucker dad offers timely, sage advice. Accepting the inevitable and powering through are the enjoyable lessons tucked into the fourth installment of this sturdy series set among a diverse collection of friends and neighbors... If change must happen, Cody's good company. – School Library Journal
Cody is a well-crafted character faced with life dilemmas that are perfectly matched in complexity to her age and grade. Contemporary themes of sportsmanship, intergenerational family life, and childhood friendship issues make this heartwarming transitional text a delight for those very early readers who are excited to read a chapter book. Delicate pen and ink drawings further lighten the tone and add pictorial detail to this whimsical story. – School Library Connections