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If Lin Can by Richard Ho
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If Lin Can

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If Lin Can by Richard Ho
Hardcover $18.99
Apr 16, 2024 | ISBN 9781623543723

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  • $18.99

    Apr 16, 2024 | ISBN 9781623543723 | 7-10 years

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  • Apr 16, 2024 | ISBN 9781632893536 | 7-10 years

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Product Details


Composed mostly of questions, this picture-book biography traces Jeremy Lin’s uphill battle as the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. Moving from his youth to his breakout 2012 game with the New York Knicks, the book shows how faith, diligence, and tenacity helped Lin weather taunts, setbacks, privation, and an agonizing NBA draft wait. The digital illustrations employ spot art to depict Lin’s off-court life, while full bleeds portray on-court action and the media craze (“linsanity”) surrounding his meteoric rise from obscurity. Ho prompts children to reflect on their own experiences contending with naysayers, find role models who look like them, embrace who they are, and defy stereotypes. Back matter fleshes out Lin’s life story and includes an author’s note and bibliography.

The Horn Book

A pep talk featuring Jeremy Lin, the first athlete of Asian descent to play in the NBA.
“Have you ever been told that you can’t?” With growing rhetorical force, Ho asks readers if they’ve ever felt misunderstood or disheartened. “You’re not alone,” he reassures them. “Have you ever turned on a television or opened a newspaper and discovered someone who looked like you?” The author goes on to show how Lin shrugged off naysayers and those who “made fun of his size, his race, and his game.” As a professional player, he was cut from his first team and continued to warm benches. He persevered, however, until, one February night in 2012, he was at last given the opportunity to show his dazzling stuff and ignited a season of “Linsanity” with the New York Knicks. Illustrations of two solitary, Asian-presenting children alternately ignored or surrounded by scoffing peers give way to scenes of the young Lin enduring similar treatment, including, in one scene, hearing catcalls from a dark-skinned young skeptic standing next to a light-skinned one mocking Lin’s eyes. But he works through it all and is ready when his chance comes to shine. “Now ask yourself,” the author concludes, “if Lin can, why can’t I?” Good question.
A slam dunk choice for role modeling. (more information on Lin, afterword, author’s note, bibliography) 

Kirkus Reviews

At once affirmation and biography, Ho’s simple yet captivating overview of the life of NBA basketball star Jeremy Lin (b. 1988) begins with a series of call-and-response questions: “Have you ever been told that you can’t?” As the pages turn, three East Asian–cued children represent an aspiring athlete, actor, and leader facing moments of discrimination, bullying, and self-doubt. Lin is introduced as “someone who looks like you,” a line that hints at the importance of representation to self-image, before the book segues into a cursory overview of Lin’s life. Stylized digital illustrations from Hu`ynh and Phùng build to a triumphant moment in Lin’s career before the second-person text asks, “Have you ever cheered for someone who shattered stereotypes, burst through barriers, and made you feel proud of who you are?” Background characters are portrayed with various skin tones. A biography, author’s note, and bibliography conclude. Ages 7–10.

Publishers Weekly

Representation and inspiration are at the fore of this picture book loosely based on the career ofAsian American professional basketball star Jeremy Lin. Ho challenges readers to overcomeobstacles, dream big, and look for inspiration from role models who share aspects of theiridentity. The book begins by asking, “Have you ever been told that you can’t?”—or that you arenot enough or should doubt yourself in sports, performing arts, school, and more? Ho then askswhether readers have ever found someone who looks like them or has faced similar challengesin the news, following up these queries with descriptions of obstacles and achievements faced byJeremy Lin. The book concludes with the motivational question, “If Lin can, why can’t I?” Boldillustrations often fill the entire page and capture the feelings of both children and Lin as theystrive despite being marginalized and underestimated. Ho’s tendency to generalize may make ithard for some readers to connect with the exhortations and even Lin himself; however, the backmatter includes a brief biography.


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