TRACK STAR by Kelly Starling Lyons
ILLUSTRATOR: Wayne Spencer
SERIES: Miles Lewis #4
GENRE: Children’s Chapter Books (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Penguin Workshop
RELEASE DATE: August 29, 2023
From the award-winning author of the Jada Jones chapter books comes an illustrated spinoff series perfect for STEM fans!
The annual Fun Run is coming up at Brookside Elementary! The students will all run laps around the carpool lane, and Miles Lewis wants to be one of the top five runners. Even though he zooms through sprints, he runs out of gas for long distance, so he creates a nutrition and exercise regimen to boost his endurance. But on the big day, he witnesses one kid struggling to keep going. Should Miles keep pressing for his personal best, or should he lend support to help a friend? In the end, Miles must decide what winning really means to him.
Other Books In This Series
Track Star is a cute chapter book that I think my eight and six-year-old nephews would enjoy reading. My eight-year-old nephew could probably read most of it on his own, but it would also make a good family read aloud, and it definitely promotes things that my brother’s family values – making healthy food choices, exercising your body, and being a good friend.
Miles Lewis is excited about his elementary school’s annual Fun Run that’s coming up, and he’s made it his goal to be one of the top five runners this year. As he interacts with his parents, grandmother, coach, teacher, and other students, he refines his strategy to increase his endurance and keep those legs running. I appreciated that his parents and grandmother have already been modeling these healthy habits for him and easily integrate him into their routines when he asks to be included. I also enjoyed the tidbits of black history that we’re given in the story itself, as well as in ‘Miles’ notes’ at the end of the book. I learned about some really interesting and impressive Black runners, and I think this is a great way to inspire further learning about these admirable athletes.
Most importantly, however, I loved this book’s message when it comes to friendships and community. There comes a point in the book where Miles must decide which is most important to him – being one of the top five runners or helping a friend who is struggling. The decision he makes has ripple effects on the whole class and presents adults with an ideal opportunity to talk about the lessons that Miles and his classmates learn. It can promote discussions on what winning really means, on whether success or people are more important, on how ‘slow and steady wins the race’ applies to more than just races, and on ways that young readers can be the kind of friend that Miles ends up being, too.
Bottom Line: Track Star by Kelly Starling Lyons is the kind of positive-message read that children need more of in today’s divided world. Full of strong and loving role models, the book points readers toward teamwork and friendship over competition or conflict, and it teaches several important lessons that are valuable for impressionable young minds to absorb and retain. Wayne Spencer’s diverse and lively illustrations make it easy for children to relate to Miles and ‘see’ the story unfold. A great choice for elementary school readers as well as family or classroom read alouds.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / great read for kids!
Kelly Starling Lyons is the award-winning author of the Jada Jones and Ty’s Travels series and picture books including Sing a Song: How “Lift Every Voice & Sing” Inspired Generations and Hope’s Gift. She lives in North Carolina. Find out more at www.kellystarlinglyons.com
What about you? What makes you want to read Track Star by Kelly Starling Lyons?