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Starting where they’re at: cricket

April 4th, 2012 by Carrie Gleason

wicket season

Many Canadian cities – and lots of schools – are making room for cricket. It’s a sport that’s popular in the countries of origin of many recent immigrants.

Its public profile is rising rapidly too. Last April during the Cricket World Cup, an event that the Toronto Star called "Toronto's Biggest Cricket World Cup Party Ever!" was held at Valley Park Middle School. The event was not only a chance for local cricket fans to get together and watch the match, it was also part of the school's fundraiser for an improved schoolyard that would include a new cricket field. (Click here to see the story of school's ongoing effort http://www.tdsb.on.ca/SchoolWeb/_site/ViewItem.asp?siteid=10206&menuid=34906&pageid=29564

It's not a coincidence that the event took place at the largest middle school in Canada. There are now school cricket teams in schools in many cities across the country.

We’ve been hearing about the growing popularity of cricket from librarians for the last three years at exhibits and trade shows. Librarians and teachers have told us that they reach boys when they offer books that deal with subjects they really care about. They’ve been asking for novels set in Canada featuring kids playing cricket that would appeal to boys in their school.

So we’ve been looking for an author who knows kids and cricket. Last year we linked up with Vancouver writer Gabrielle Prendergast who knows the sport well and who was interested in developing a cricket novel.

The book is now out. Just-published Wicket Season tells the story of Harry Ambrose, a star cricket player in Winnipeg. But then Harry moves to Toronto and discovers he's not the cricket prodigy he thought he was. Instead, Harry's just another kid who plays cricket, and if he really wants to make it onto the cricket team, he's going to have to find some way to prove his dedication to the sport. Eventually Harry does prove himself a valuable member of the cricket community, but to everyone's surprise (even Harry's), it's as a coach of the kids' community cricket team!

If you’ve got boys who love cricket, here’s a chance to offer them a book they'll be happy to read. They’ll find that the author knows their sport at least as well as they do — and that fact helps make the story worthwhile reading.


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