Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hopscotch

Walking can be a great way to relax and to come up with solutions, or to be inspired in some way.  For author Steve Cushman, the idea for his new book, Hopscotch, published in 2017, started while he was out walking his dog, Suzy, about 10 years ago.  In the author's own words, here's what happened.

"A block or so away from my house, we came across a hopscotch board someone had drawn on the sidewalk.  Normal enough stuff as we have a lot of kids in the neighborhood.  But for some reason on this day I wondered what would happen if a hopscotch board was on the sidewalk of the hospital where I worked.  I'd been working in hospitals for over twenty years and had never seen a hopscotch board at one of them.  So I started thinking about how such a thing might affect people at the hospital, whether patients or staff.  That was the start of it, and then over the years I added characters and situations and a hopeful mystery until somehow it felt done and ready for the world."

Hopscotch tells a story through the (third person) points of view of the main characters, Dr. Jeffrey Boles, Emily, John, Stan, Mary, Rosa, and Metalhead Mike.  Dr. Boles is the first one to notice a hopscotch board drawn in chalk in an unlikely place, on the sidewalk near the entrance of Alfred Stone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he works as an orthopedic surgeon.  John, a janitor at the hospital, is asked to remove the hopscotch board, and he does (after hopping around on it a bit).  But after it's cleaned off, the hopscotch board mysteriously re-appears.

Emily, a young girl fighting cancer, Stan, a wheelchair-bound Iraqi War veteran, Mary, the wife of a man who's doing very poorly, Metalhead Mike, who has had a bad head injury, hospital staff, and others are drawn to the hopscotch board.  Each chapter is headed by the name of the character whose story is being told, making it easy to follow.  As you read you learn more about each character as their individual stories unfold. 

Hopscotch is heartbreaking at times, but it's also hopeful.  Although it's not labeled specifically as YA fiction, I think this absorbing novel will appeal to young adults, due to a format that makes it easy to follow, its shorter length, and to the focus on some younger characters and the childhood game of hopscotch.  As an "older adult", though, I enjoyed reading this book very much.  I cared about the characters, which counts for a lot.  The hopscotch board--a symbol of hope in a setting that's often associated with illness and despair--makes the characters smile, and it made me smile, too.  This childhood game provides a welcome respite from their cares and troubles.  The stories in this book are touching, and the hopscotch board is a silver lining that connects the characters and provides joy, hope, and simple fun.  This is a wonderful book! 

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Every Saturday, Booking Mama hosts Kid Konnection, a fun feature that highlights books for children and young adults.  Many thanks to the author for sending me an advanced reading copy of his new book.

Thanks for stopping by!  Your comments are welcomed.

15 comments:

  1. This sounds like an excellent book.

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  2. I love it when I run across a hopscotch board on my walks and I'm so impressed that it inspired Cushman to write what sounds like a moving book.

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    1. Kathy, thanks for sharing that tidbit, and for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

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  3. You always review such interesting books! I haven't seen a hopscotch in a long time :(

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  4. This sounds interesting and different. It also sounds like it is moving and touches upon some important things.

    Throughout my life I have rarely lived in neighborhoods with sidewalks. When I have seen hopscotch chalking I think about how fun the whole thing seems to be.

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  5. I think the juxtaposition of a a simple game for children played outdoors at a hospital, is wonderful. I think I would enjoy this story.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your review. I haven't seen a hopscotch board in a long time, but just picturing it brings a smile to my face. Cushman had a brilliant idea; first to bring hopscotch to the hospital and second to write a book about it.

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  7. This sounds very worth reading. Hopescotch is unknown here in the Philippines

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  8. Thank you very much for the terrific comments!

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  9. Aw Suko this sounds like a lovely read, have just went and put it on my wishlist thanks to your lovely review. There are a few books called Hopscotch, who knew it would be such a popular title!

    Hope you are well lovely xxx

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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  10. I agree with your opinion that Hopscotch is heartbreaking at times, but it's also hopeful even it's not labeled specifically as YA fiction.
    Emma Charlotte
    The Academic Papers

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  11. I remember playing this game. If you can still jump, it's a good one!

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  12. What sounds like a wonderfully hopeful tale even if I feel a box of tissues might be needed. I think this one warrants being added to my wish list.

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  13. I like the premise of this one Susan and how all their stories unfold by chapter. I remember playing hopscotch when I was little. Great review! Happy weekend :)

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  14. This book sounds so interesting and unique. I really love the premise. I love to go to walks myself, I find they are a good way to clear the mind and to enjoy nature!

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