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Henry Holton Takes the Ice
Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Canada
age 5-8
by Sandra Bradley, pictures by Sara Palacios
32 pages

Synopsis from Penguin Canada:

Henry Holton’s whole family is hockey mad. Everyone, that is, except Henry. When he holds a hockey stick, Henry becomes a menace to the game—and an embarrassment to his sports-minded family. It’s not until he sees his first ice dancing performance that Henry realizes there’s something he can do on the ice that doesn’t involve boarding and body checking. Henry is ready to hang up his gear and try on some figure skates, but first he has to convince his hockey-obsessed family to let him follow his own path.

As a mother of two daughters I love that my girls can wear blue, play with trucks, even join a hockey team if they so desired. As a mother of one son I wish he felt he had the same freedom. It is hockey season and many families have their kids signed up in leaques or play neighbourhood games but not every boy who loves to skate has an interest in hockey. Henry Holton Takes the Ice touches on this topic. I can only hope if any boy had an interest in ice dancing that his family would be as open as Holton’s family to the change.

Whether you have a boy interested in skating beyond hockey or not, I think Henry Holton Takes the Ice is a great story about supporting a child’s interest even if it goes against stereotypical norms. Kids aren’t born with a desire to tease another for behaviours that are different, they learn to ridicule from others. It’s a reminder to kids too not to judge another because they have different interests. We’re not a hockey family and most winter sport books for boys that have passed over my desk have been hockey oriented. I found Henry Holton’s story refreshing for the winter skate season.

Additional Reading: Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

You can find a copy of Henry Holton Takes the Ice at your local bookstore or at Penguin Canada. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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