We have a couple excellent books for kids: Baseball’s Winning Ways for teens and Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears’ Winning Ways for kids in the middle grades. We built in some self-help and educational features in these books, but we couldn’t hope to succeed in sales without making these books interesting to read for sports-minded youth.

I have been a power library user over the years as my kids were growing up and as a “book person” spent some time looking at the books that have become library discards. One thing I always found with the discards that have barely any wear to them, is that they often covered a “feel-good topic” for adults, but would have been punishing to read for kids.

Baseball’s Winning Ways and the Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears’ Winning Ways books appeal to young readers. With the Papa Bear book, the flow followed the life of George Halas. Little bits of history, some of the great players, and highlights of Halas’s career take up the first half of the book in about 40 pages with a handful of pictures that make it accessible to readers. We move on to a simple self-help system created by Ben Franklin, but one that uses George Halas’s “sayings” or winning ways. We load up the back end of the book with a glossary and learning aids to make sure readers get a good amount of education relatively “painlessly.”

Baseball’s Winning Ways started out with brief biographies of current players and past greats which takes the reader 60 pages into the book with photographs that help bring them along. The center of the book is all about baseball history and American history that was taking place as the sport progressed. And then we get into winning ways which were developed by baseball’s winningest manager, Joe McCarthy. These winning ways are taught by the best coaches and are also life lessons. The last third of the book is a glossary and learning aids.

In both books, readers might be drawn into the book by their love of sports and once there our authors also provide them with some great ideas and facts.

I have a friend who teaches older kids who have had a difficult time learning to read. These are older kids who are often embarrassed by the books that are used to teach them. I don’t think they would be embarrassed by Papa Bear and the Chicago Bears’ Winning Ways. Baseball’s Winning Ways is almost an antidote to kids who are OK with sports but not so good about history or anything educational. Baseball will keep them on task and the history and ideas presented is there to open new doors of understanding.