Ted Richman loves to swim; he’s one of the best backstroke swimmers on his school swim team. Enter Hiro Kijima, new to the school and to the team. Hiro is also a backstroke expert, and the boys become instant rivals.
But it turns out that the two boys have one major thing in common: neither of them can attend swim meets that are held on Saturdays. Hiro has Saturday school to learn about Japanese culture, and Ted goes to the synagogue with his family. Through the gentle advice of their grandparents, the boys reluctantly decide to work together to convince the school to change the Saturday swim meets to Sunday. They mount a campaign to sway the opinions of their teammates, who will vote to determine when the meets are held. A friendship slowly develops between Ted and Hiro as they work toward their common goal, demonstrating that even rivals can be friends.
With a smattering of Japanese proverbs and a touch of Yiddish, this chapter book takes a humorous look at two families from different cultures by highlighting their many similarities.
Recommended for ages 8 to 12.
Marcia Berneger is a retired teacher who lives with her husband and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and second grade, as well as special education. She currently teaches Torah school, in addition to her volunteer work in classrooms, libraries, and with various fundraisers. She lives in San Diego.