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Inside Practically Paradise

Curling up with Ben Roethlisberger

Get your minds back on books! Yes, it’s Superbowl Sunday and I’ll be avidly watching the commercials – I mean the game – tonight, but today’s experience is going to be heightened by my background knowledge on Ben Roethlisberger. Hooray for Bearport Publishing and their new series Football Heroes Making a Difference. I have had a great deal of fun with the Ben Roethlisberger title by Michael Sandler. 

Before I even opened this title, I started playing with my football friends’ minds. "Tell me everything you know about Ben Roethlisberger," I’d say. Can you imagine the facts these football fiends threw my way? After they were sure they’d totally enlightened me, they’d ask, "Why?" 

I’d pull out this title and watch their eyes light up as they "proved" all of their facts. Everyone agreed this book was an exciting keeper and would appeal to all football and sports fans. They did feel Ben’s spectacular defensive play stopping the Colts’ Nick Harper merited more than a single photo and caption. True football fan dedication!

While this title detailed Ben’s football and other sports’ successes, there was information on Ben Roethslisberger’s Foundation that provides service dogs to local police and fire departments. Ben sponsors a youth football program, speaks in middle and high schools about staying drug free, speaks in grade schools about the importance of learning to read, raises charity funds through sales of his own BBQ sauce, and is trying to build a new youth football complex in his hometown. In 24-pages Michael Sandler has created a satisfying biographical introduction to this exciting football hero. 

With an intended audience of grades K-5 and a reading level of second grade, I expected this title to be most appropriate for elementary readers. Surprise! Sure to appeal to middle school, high-interest/low-level readers and the English Language Learners prevalent in today’s population the Football Heroes: Making a Difference series is a must-have for 2009’s Middle School purchases. 

For those schools who respond to students’ requests for more sports titles, the Bibliography and Read More lists in the back will help in building the ultimate sports lovers’ lists. Other titles in this series include: 
Brett Favre
Brain Urlacher
Donovan McNabb
LaDainian Tomlinson
Matt Hasselbeck 

My only regret is the omission of a title on Kurt Warner. Let’s hear a shout out for the hometown Iowa boy. Most of you remember I am a small-town Iowa girl. Kurt’s hometown of Burlington, Iowa, is much larger than mine, but I do appreciate he stocked groceries at Hy-Vee. My youngest brother Randy is a deli manager for Hy-Vee and I admire a working man who provides for the family beyond the glamour of football, too.


  1. Diane–
    What a great way to line the excitement of the Superbowl to reading/books/libraries. Very timely!!

  2. librarian7 says:

    I have seen other books by Sandler, seems to have a knack for “humanizing” sports celebrities.

  3. Maurizio Spagna says:


    il controllo al di sopra del gioco,
    nel delirio degli schemi, il lancio, l’illuminazione.
    Nello stagno delle yards,
    l’anatra imprendibile corre verso il suo destino con il suo difficile compito…


    Lontano dal corpo difeso
    Tendevo le ali del lancio
    E la visione ripresa nei lacci
    provocava le yards ostinate.
    Lontano sul campo appreso
    Lo schema rispondeva al delirio
    E chiudendo gli occhi
    Sospiravo il lancio nel buio.
    Allato del mio simile accline
    Chiamavo i passaggi di corse
    Fino alla fine del tunnel
    Ancora e ancora di man forte.
    Ma è per muschio e maschio
    Che leggenda del greve sibilo
    L’anatra ferita a volte
    Sussurra un volo pregiato
    E libera…
    Spira una spirale
    Per vedere in quante mete
    E’ rimasto il suo pelame alato.


    “I Quarterback vincenti
    Del NFL
    E del SUPER BOWL”

    Ben Roethlisberger
    (Pittsburgh Steelers)
    Eli Manning
    (New York Giants)
    Peyton Manning
    (Indianapolis Colts)

    Da “Uomini da Slam”
    di Maurizio Spagna
    paroliere, scrittore e poeta al leggìo-