By Terri Schlichenmeyer, NDG Special Contributor
What do you do when someone tells you that you can’t do something you want to do?
But when young Willie Powell was told that he couldn’t do something he wanted to do, it just made him work harder to reach his goal. In the new book Twice as Good by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Eric Velasquez, you’ll see how Willie made his dream come true.
Even though he was just in third grade, Willie Powell was a very fast runner.
He had to be fast. The Edgewater Golf Course was seven miles away and it was one of the most beautiful places Willie had ever seen. Each day after school, he ran to Edgewater, then he ran back home by nightfall.
Willie wanted to learn to play golf on the smooth lawns at Edgewater, but the golfers told him that “his kind” wasn’t welcome there. He was used to that, though. He was often the only Negro boy wherever he went and that didn’t stop Willie. He went to Edgewater anyhow, every chance he got.
Eventually, one of the golfers let Willie be a caddy, which meant carrying a heavy bag filled with golf clubs. That didn’t stop Willie, either; in fact, he worked twice as hard because being “good” at his job wasn’t good enough. Soon, he was earning money at being a caddy.
Then one day, someone asked Willie to play a round of golf and Willie loved it! From then on, every chance he got, he practiced. By time he entered high school, he was one of the best golfers around. He even entered competitions.
Still, lots of white golfers didn’t want Willie playing on their course. They wouldn’t let him join the club or share their clubhouse. But Willie had dreams, not only for himself but for his baby daughter, too.
He knew that someday, there’d be a place where she could learn to play golf, too, and nobody would turn her away. Willie was sure there’d be a course like that, even if he had to build it himself.
Got a kid who wants to be the next Tiger on the links? Show him (or her!) that someone helped groom the course by reading Twice as Good.
Author Richard Michelson took the true story of a boy who refuses to take “no” for an answer to his dreams, and makes it into a kid-friendly story of perseverance in the face of racism. I liked that Michelson gives his young hero a graceful determination with no room for discouragement (which is very inspirational), and Eric Velasquez’s illustrations fit Michelson’s story to a tee.
I think that if your 3-to-6-year-old loves a good read-aloud, this is one to put on the roster. For you, Twice as Good is a book that’s hard to say “no” to.
Twice as Good by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Eric Velasquez (Sleeping Bear Press), $16.95, 32 pages