Carlos Cooper loved playing basketball for his school team. But that was “before.” Now he’s reluctant to even take a shot. Bouncing Back, aptly titled for many reasons, takes us slowly, carefully and poignantly through the adjustments that Carlos is making to his new life in a wheelchair and his new life with his aunt and uncle. It’s not until Chapter 17 that we learn more about his parents and exactly what happened. That slow unfolding of the story makes it all the more compelling.
Carlos is also dealing with Stomper, a school bully, and a city issue involving the mayor and rats in the building where his wheelchair basketball team practices. But they can’t get to the state basketball tournament if their gym is shut down. The students rally, but will it help? Can they take on City Hall?
Sean Patrick Hopkins delightfully narrates the story of Carlos – “Carlito” – as his uncle calls him. Carlos learns about navigating a new basketball court, a new living situation and family and new friends. But he also learns not to give up, and not to let go of old friends who remind him of his value to the world – and to let in new friends who remind him of the joy to be found in the world. Bouncing Back is an engaging, enlightening, and uplifting story for anyone, and everyone, wheelchair bound or not. It shows, through Carlos, that we all face challenges and have gifts to share with others.
Ann Oldenburg ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and assistant director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.