Author Bo Rush loves sports and the only thing he wanted to read about when he was younger was SPORTS. Today, he’s a language arts teacher who knows about the importance of developing a passion for reading. He’s written a series of books to grow that passion in young readers by appealing to their love of sports.
Are you looking for story themes that honor and celebrate diversity? Bo’s book, Soccer Bugs, combines fast-paced soccer action with powerful social issues, including bullying, diversity, autism, divorce, memory loss and identity.
Can you give us a summary of Soccer Bugs?
Set in small-town Illinois, the ghost of Abe Lincoln and his dog Fido offer a twist that is both entertaining and educational. Ten year old Rio Planck witnesses first-hand how his adopted grandpa molds a ragtag bunch of rejects into a championship soccer team.
The “Lightning Bugs” include a talented striker who uses bilateral cochlear implants to hear, and a hyper-focused goalkeeper who is on the autism spectrum. When their aging coach develops Alzheimer’s and can no longer guide them, the young players use the lessons they’ve learned on and off the field to complete their surprising season in spectacular, nail-biting fashion.
What inspired you to write it?
As an elementary school teacher for 20+ years, I have had the pleasure of having many students with unique learning abilities. One of my goals in writing books for kids is to include a wide range of characters, to honor and celebrate all of our diverse strengths.
Who is the ideal reader and how do you see the book being used?
My books are targeted at children ages 8-12. Teachers are using my books for guided reading groups, as well as for read-alouds.
What’s the message you want your readers to take away after reading the book?
We live in a diverse world, and acceptance of others is an important starting point in making our world prosper.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your books?
I stress positive character traits in all of my books. Traits that recur in my books include honesty, perseverance, teamwork, and courage.
Do you have a proud moment, inspirational story, or moving fan feedback you’d like to share?
A fifth-grader in rural Iowa, who is an immigrant from India, wrote to me pointing out an esoteric soccer rule that I presented incorrectly in one of my books. I happened to be in the Midwest in November, and made a point to visit this student’s school and present an autographed book to my young “editor.” Although it was a simple thing for me to do, I know that he will never forget that moment.
If our readers leave with only one message after reading this interview, what would you like it to be?
By focusing on our strengths, rather than on our limitations, we can thrive as individuals and as communities.
Discover more about Bo and his books on:
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) #ReadYourWorld is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books
Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.