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Children's Fiction Homelessness & Poverty

Ugly Kicks

by (author) Kelsey Blair

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2015
Homelessness & Poverty, Friendship, Bullying
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 13
  • Grade: 4 to 8
  • Reading age: 7 to 10


Ashley Rivera's single mom can't afford to buy her new basketball shoes -- she does't even have enough for the registration fee when Ashley makes the city basketball team. So Ashley takes on extra work to make the money she needs to play basketball. Soon Ashley's overloaded schedule makes her too tired for school and her friends, and she can't take it when the popular girl on her team suddenly starts teasing her about her ragged sneakers.

Does Ashley even want to keep playing? With the help of friends old and new, and with surprising support from her brother, Ashley figures out how to afford the price of play.


About the author

KELSEY BLAIR played varsity basketballfor the University of British Columbia, leading her team to two Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Championships, and has played semi-professionally in Sweden. She is the author of the Sports Stories Pick and Roll, which was selected as a Best Book for Kids and Teens by the Canadian Children's Book Centre, as well as Ugly Kicks and Making the Team. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kelsey Blair's profile page


  • Winner, Resource Links The Year's Best - Fiction Grades 3-6

Editorial Reviews

"A good story told simply -- perfect for reluctant readers, especially those who like basketball or sports in general... A good read for those struggling with teen relationships. Also features a diverse cast of characters, with that element subtly done."

Netgalley Reviewer

"MIddle grade students would appreciate this book, and ESOL students may appreciate the simplicity of the book."

Netgalley Reviewer

"The author has extensive experience with the sport of basketball, and this knowledge comes through in the novel . . . The novel would appeal to students who like basketball, team sports and realistic fiction, and Ugly Kicks would be an excellent addition to any collection. Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"An intense, contemporary sports story for middle school girls. Because of the lack of swearing or sexual content, this is a good choice for more conservative readers who still want a realistic, modern story."

Netgalley Reviewer

"Ugly Kicks by Kelsey Blair is a truly touching and inspiring young adult fiction. Ashley's journey feels real... [and her determination makes her a positive role model... The chapters are short and the story moves quickly. This feel good story does not disappoint."

Netgalley Reviewer

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