S: Harold's Boots 2012 Sundberg
BC: Harold dreamed of being able to run fast and play sports. But something was holding Harold back. One day, the entire third grade class learned there was something special about Harold.
FC: Harold's Boots | Harold's Boots
1: Harold's Boots by Dr. Howard Sundberg Illustrated by Brianna Franer and Students of Lancaster School District | Story rights reserved by Dr. Howard Sundberg. Art rights reserved by Brianna Franer.
3: Harold was almost what you would call a happy boy. Although his family did not have much money, they did live in a small, but comfortable house. There was usually enough to eat, and best of all the five children and their parents loved each other.
5: To Harold, though, one thing was missing. He dearly loved sports and all kinds of games, but no matter how hard he tried he just could not move very fast. Even though he was thin and wiry, Harold was not a fast runner. In fact you might even call Harold a genuine "slow poke." Playing wide-receiver or running back on the football team was his dream, but Harold was slow, so he was one of the blockers. Not many balls were hit to right field, so that's where Harold played on the baseball team. Running races was out of the question, and Harold found that he also could not jump very high or far. Track and basketball then were certainly not for Harold.
7: The other third graders at Harold's school all knew that Harold was a slow runner. When things were a little boring at recess they could always have some fun teasing Harold and running away. One of their favorite games was to make fun of Harold's boots. Nothing made Harold as angry as the teasing about his boots. Harold's father worked hard to earn the family's money. Sometimes he worked all day and then took another job at night. Even though Harold's mother stayed home with the five children, she earned money by doing jobs for the other families in the neighborhood. No matter how hard they worked there never seemed to be enough money.That's why Harold had boots.
8: "You know how fast you wear out shoes, Harold," his father said while they were shopping. "These boots will last much longer." "But Dad," Harold replied, "Those aren't just boots, they're clodhoppers." "Clodhoppers!" Harold's father laughed. "What are clodhoppers?" "Look at how big and heavy those are Dad," Harold said, pointing at the boots. "That's clodhoppers." "I'm sorry you feel that way Harold," was the soft reply, "but you know that we can't afford to buy you new shoes every month or two." Harold knew that this was true, but the thought of another pair of clodhoppers left him feeling sad.
10: The next day, at recess, Harold's boots were the center of attention. "Look at Harold's new boots," shouted Tom. As usual Billy chimed in "Wow, are they shiny!' Even his friend Wayne laughed and pointed. | It seemed that the whole third grade was making fun of Harold's new boots. Harold just stood still, unsure if he was going to scream or cry. Fortunately, the bell rang before he did either one.
11: came to class it usually meant that someone was in big trouble. This time was different. "Boys and girls," Mr. Kelly began, "a very special event is coming up in three weeks. All of the elementary schools in the city will be participating in the annual track championships at the high school stadium. As you know, third and fourth graders have their own division for all the running, jumping, and throwing events. On Friday the tryouts begin and I expect all of you to participate." | Later that same day, Mr. Kelly, the principal, came into Harold's classroom. The children were all very quiet because when Mr. Kelly | Eric Castillo, Jack Northrop School
12: As Mr. Kelly left the room, Harold's heart was pounding with excitement. Then he remembered. "I can't run or jump," Harold said to himself. "Besides Mike Norris is the fastest boy in the whole school and he's in the fourth grade. Oh well, maybe I can do one of the throwing events." It was a sad Harold who walked home from school that day. Friday afternoon all the third and fourth grade students were called out to the playground. Mr. Kelly had painted two wide white lines on the asphalt. "The first event is the boys' 50-yard dash," Mr. Kelly yelled. "This is the starting line and that's the finish," he explained, pointing to the two lines. "We will run six races and the top two from each race will go to the finals so we can find the school champion."
13: Jacob Castillo, Jack Northrop Elementary School
14: Mr. Kelly then began picking boys and placing them on the starting line. Harold crouched down at the back of the group, hoping that Mr. Kelly would not see him. Tom won the first race and Wayne the second. All the third graders were shouting and cheering because there weren't many times that they were able to beat the four graders. "Mike Norris," Mr. Kelly called. The fourth grade gave a loud cheer, because everyone knew that Mike Norris was the fastest boy in the whole school. "Harold Larsen," was called next and the third graders moaned loudly. Harold heard Billy whisper, "Oh now we don't have a chance with that turtle in the race." With his head hung low, Harold stepped up to the line next to Mike.
15: Jennifer Zavala, El Dorado Elementary School | After Mr. Kelly had all the boys lined up for the third race, he gave the instructions. "I'll say 'take your mark, set, go' and you run as fast as you can to the next line. Mrs. Colter will write down the names of the first two finishers."
16: Harold put his left foot up to the line and waited as Mr. Kelly announced loudly, "Take your mark!" He leaned forward when Mr. Kelly said "set." With "Go" they were off. Mike Norris quickly took the lead and even though Harold started as fast as anyone he was soon in fourth place. By the halfway point he was in last place and falling further behind. Mike Norris was so far ahead that Harold thought he could barely see him. Mrs. Colter had already started taking down the names of the two winners as Harold struggled across the finish line. The fourth graders were cheering loudly for Mike and another boy, but the third grade was mostly silent as Harold walked back. As he rejoined his class, Harold noticed Mr. Kelly was looking closely at him.
17: "Oh no," Harold thought, "I must be in trouble. Maybe Mr. Kelly thinks I didn't try." Race after race was run and the fourth grade won them all. Mr. Kelly was arranging the sixth and final race when he called, "Is there anyone who hasn't run? We still have one space in the last race. Harold Larson, why don't you give it another try?"
18: Harold wanted to sink into his boots and disappear. "There goes our last chance," moaned Billy, as Harold walked slowly to the starting line. Again, with head hung low, Harold took his place on the line. He really wasn't paying attention as Mr. Kelly gave the race instructions. "What's the use?" he thought. Harold jumped as he felt a big hand on his shoulder. Turning, he saw that it was Mr. Kelly. "Take your boots off," Mr. Kelly said quietly. Harold was confused, but no one said "no" to Mr. Kelly. Quickly he sat down and unlaced his clodhoppers. Now with just socks on his feet, Harold again took his place on the starting line. "Take your mark, set," called Mr. Kelly. When he heard "go!" Harold lunged off the line.
19: After a few steps, he realized, with a shock, that no one was in front of him. Still the doubts remained. "They'll all go by any second," thought Harold as he | approached the halfway point. To his surprise no one did. Harold was dizzy with pride and amazement as Mrs.Colter wrote down his name. He couldn't stop smiling as he walked back to the start. No one had ever cheered for Harold before, but now the whole third grade was clapping and calling his name.
20: Even with all the noise, Harold couldn't help hearing Billy say "I don't believe it," as he walked by. Mr. Kelly had a big smile on his face as he started calling the twelve names for the finals. Harold was still breathing hard as he lined up next to Mike Norris. As he looked down the line he saw all the fastest boys in the school. It was a little scary, but he could hardly wait to get home and tell his parents that he had made it to the finals. Harold suspected he had been lucky and that the last race had all the slow runners. That didn't matter though, he was in the finals!
21: Roberto Yanez, Linda Verde Elementary School
22: These thoughts were still running through Harold's mind as Mr. Kelly called, "take your mark" and "set." Harold still wasn't really ready when "Go!" was shouted. Mike Norris quickly took the lead. With 30 yards to go, Harold realized he was only a step behind Mike.
23: "I'm gaining," Harold thought with a start. With his next few steps he pulled up beside Mike and then, suddenly, he was in front, Harold looked back as he crossed the finish line and saw that Mike was a full three steps behind. Before Mrs. Colter could write down his name, Harold was almost knocked off his feet. The whole third grade had run down to the finish. All the students were cheering and pounding Harold on the back. Despite all the noise and excitement Harold heard Billy yell "How did you do it Harold?" | Before he had time to think of an answer, a deep adult voice answered, "It was the boots."
25: As the students fell silent, Mr. Kelly explained. "While all of you, including Harold, thought he was slow, it was really those big, heavy boots. Their weight slowed Harold down when he ran, but they also gave him the strong leg muscles you need to run fast." The whole weekend was wonderful for Harold. His mother made a special meal in his honor and he didn't even get in trouble for the holes he had worn in his socks. Harold's Dad told him that he was very proud. Harold lay awake at night trying to decide if he should be a professional football or baseball player. Maybe he'd even be in the Olympics!
26: Monday back at school was the best of all. As Harold walked up to his classroom, there was Billy wearing a shiny, brand-new pair of "clodhoppers." | Postscript There really was a "Harold" and there really were clodhoppers. He worked hard and became an outstanding runner in high school and college and got to travel all over the country. Later, he became a teacher and coach, a Principal, and eventually Superintendent. He never lost his love of running and runs to this very day. This book is presented to Dr. Howard Sundberg on the occasion of his retirement, in thanks and recognition of his 38 years of loyal service to the Lancaster School District.
28: Layla Brown, Joshua Elementary School | David Duarte, El Dorado School
29: Martin Elias, Sunnydale School | Reanta Roberts, Joshua Elementary | Jacob Chamnes, Sierra Elementary
30: Julian Paiz, Jack Northrop School | Balanna Cavanagh, Desert View Elementary | Jaiden McGuinness-Cook, Jack Northrop School | Kaia Jeffries, Jack Northrop School
31: Olivia Olmedo, Mariposa Elementary | Richard Garcia, Joshua Elementary | Danaya Hornsby, Jack Northrop School