Tiki and Ronde were each other's best friends. Together from the start, these twins might not have been the strongest or the tallest, but they were fast and worked hard at what they loved. And they loved sports, especially football.

Then one day Tiki badly hurt his knee in a biking accident, and he was sure he'd never be able to play again. Their mother had always told them,...
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Tiki and Ronde were each other's best friends. Together from the start, these twins might not have been the strongest or the tallest, but they were fast and worked hard at what they loved. And they loved sports, especially football.

Then one day Tiki badly hurt his knee in a biking accident, and he was sure he'd never be able to play again. Their mother had always told them, "You are each other's best friends. Stick together, believe in yourselves, and you can do anything." They kept her words in their hearts and never gave up.

Based on the childhood of National Football League superstars Ronde and Tiki Barber, this inspiring book about the values of family, hard work, and determination is the story of what it takes to be a champion.

Introduces twin brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber, who worked hard to overcome obstacles and became National Football League stars, one as runningback for the New York Giants, the other as cornerback for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Professional football stars and twin brothers Tiki and Ronde Barber score with this gentle, inspiring look at defining moments of their childhood, and the early seeds of their athletic careers. Born "smaller than most babies," the Barbers might have faced a difficult time playing sports. But the boys benefited from a secret weapon they didn't even know they had-an ever-supportive mother who encouraged them to work hard and always be there for each other ("Believe in yourself and others will too," she says). When young Tiki suffers a serious leg injury in a bicycle crash, he's devastated. Ronde never flags in keeping his twin's spirits up, however, and before long the two are tossing a baseball, then a football around like nothing had ever happened. Then, on the eve of their Pee Wee League football season, the boys vow to make it to the top, together, "playing in a big stadium... in front of a great big crowd," Super Bowl-big. Sports fans know that their dream came true. The Barbers, with help from Robert Burleigh, give a warm focus to the family foundation they believe is instrumental to their successes and their lives. Without sounding trite, they appealingly deliver the messages of perseverance and sibling solidarity. Root's sunny watercolors, often accented with lush, green trees, capture action on and off the field, conveying the energy of the Barbers' on-the-go childhood and upbeat attitude. Ages 6-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-NFL stars Tiki and Ronde Barber present sports fans with a sun-drenched childhood anecdote about perseverance. Although the twins were "born smaller than most babies," they grew up to be a rowdy pair. The boys never left one another's side until the summer when Tiki took a bad spill from his bike and broke his leg, forcing him to miss the entire baseball season. The narrative follows the siblings' agony during their summer-long separation and their eventual joy at being teammates again. Despite its lengthy, lackluster text and a somewhat anticlimactic ending, the authors' role-model status will attract an audience, and Root's soft, watercolor-and-gouache illustrations will capture readers' imaginations. Vibrant oranges and yellows suffuse the pages, creating a sense of nostalgia. Similar to Deloris and Roslyn M. Jordan's Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream (S & S, 2000), the Barbers' tale will be a popular addition to sports collections.-Ann M. Holcomb, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Barber twins not only play professional football for the NFL, they're also both great enough to be stars. But once upon a time they were just brothers growing up with the typical scrapes and bruises that come with playing hard. In Tiki's case, there was a more serious injury when he tumbled over the handlebars of his bike, severely damaging his leg. The doctor said he might not play sports again. Twins always have a special bond, but this real-life story shows how Ronde helped Tiki through his trial and back to the football field. Heeding mom's stick-to-it, work-hard advice, they keep at it and begin to dream of the Super Bowl, in which they both go on to play. Root's sunny illustrations are a bit tame for such rambunctious kids, but the story will inspire those peewee football players out there who are recuperating from their own breaks, sprains, and aches. Every pediatric orthopedist in America should keep this book in their waiting room. A great gift for brothers, too. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442424142
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 496,245
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • File size: 28 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Tiki Barber is a record-holding retired running back for the New York Giants. He married and is the father of four children.
Ronde Barber is a record-holding cornerback who retired after fifteen seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is one of only two cornerbacks selected to the Pro Bowl five times. He is married with two daughters.
Robert Burleigh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn, illustrated by Barry Blitt; Night Flight, illustrated by Wendell Minor; and Black Whiteness, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop. His many other books include Hoops; Stealing Home; and Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! He lives in Michigan.
Barry Root is the illustrator of many books for children, including Gumbrella, which he also wrote; Dream Big; By My Brother’s Side; and Game Day, which received a Christopher Award in the category of books for young people. He lives with his family in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.
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Interviews & Essays

An Interview with Tiki and Ronde Barber

You both played a lot of sports as kids. At what age did you two decide that you were most serious about football?

TB: We probably didn't exclusively focus on football until our second year in college. We just enjoyed being athletes.
RB: I don't think it was ever a case of deciding that football was the right sport to get serious about. We were both great track-and-field athletes as well, and we competed into our college days. I would guess that our senior years in high school, after we accepted our football scholarships, was when we said this is what we are best at.

Tiki, did you ever have any trouble with the leg you broke as a child? Ronde, have you had any injuries playing sports?

TB: After I was healed up and competing again I never had trouble with it (for the record, I only lacerated my leg, albeit to the bone, nothing was broken).
RB: I have had many injuries playing football. Far too many to recall, actually. I have recovered from five different surgeries from my second year in college through my last one in 2003.

Did you ever try to switch places on the field?

TB: No, our positions are too different, it would be a disaster.
RB: No. I never felt a need for that. At some point we became fairly specialized at what we do. Of course, in recreational football and even through prep ball, we played everywhere.

Do you have a favorite childhood book?

TB: The Little Engine That Could.
RB: I would guess it was a Dr. Seuss book because his are the ones that come to mind.

Since you play in different regions, are you able to see each other's games? Do you talk about the games, plays, and outcomes afterward?

TB: I try to watch as many games of Ronde's that I can. I usually only can see them when he's on national TV. We do talk after every game, whether I see it or not, about what and how each of us did.
RB: Only occasionally do I get to see his games. And we do talk after every game, but it's not too much about football.

You played each other last year on November 17, 2003. What was the outcome of the game, and on which side did your mom sit?

TB: Ronde's team, the Bucs, won the game. My mom sat in a box on Ronde's side (home teams get better tickets).
RB: Tampa won, and Mom always sits with the home team.

What would you each say is the single greatest characteristic that is necessary to make it to the NFL? Is that any different from what it takes to have a long career in professional football?

TB: I think they are the same thing. A lot goes in to being a NFL player and having a long career, so it's hard to narrow it down to the one most important characteristic. However, I think having a strong belief in yourself and not seeing failure as an option is at the top. Make your self-fulfilling prophecy a positive one.
RB: Based on what I've been through, I would say perseverance. I think I've overcome a lot of uncertain times to be where I am now. I think people always doubt you in some way or other and my perseverance allowed me to never forget my goals. I think that, too, is what is necessary to stay a long time in our league.

You have both been advocates of children and reading through the literacy program Verizon Reads, your volunteer work in Read Across America, and other national organizations that support reading. Who were your early influences in your love of reading?

TB: My mom always kept books around the house, so we were drawn to them.
RB: That's a really good question and the only good answer I have is my mom and Tiki. It's important to support literacy programs because the ability to read comprehensively is the rock that successful people really unconsciously rely on.

Were you always good students? Did you always hand in your homework on time?

TB: I was always a good student; my mom instilled in us the importance of academics early on and it stuck with us. She wouldn't let us go to practice until we did our homework.
RB: We were always good students simply because we have always been competitive people. Just as in sports we had the ambition to be the best. That attitude definitely spilled over into our academic lives.

Have you ever wanted to play another position on your team other than the one you currently play?

TB: I've never wanted to be anything except a running back.
RB: Not particularly. Like I said earlier, we are more or less skilled professionals, and I know how to do what I do very well. There are more than enough skilled athletes to play all the other positions.

You are great role models for young people. Who were your role models growing up?

TB: Walter Payton was my favorite player. He was great all the time even when his teams weren't very good.
RB: My mom and some of my coaches.

What was your best moment on the field or most memorable game?

TB: My most memorable game was in 1995 while I was still at UVA. We played Florida State (ranked number two in the country at the time) on ESPN-Thursday Night Football. I had the best game of my college career and we beat them on the last play of the game, becoming the first team in the ACC to beat them.
RB: For me it is without question our NFC Championship game in Philadelphia in 2003. It could easily be considered my best game against a team that seemingly had our number. And, oh yeah, I had the game-clinching interception for a touchdown that sent us to Super Bowl XXXVII.

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Customer Reviews

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( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2007

    About football

    Tiki and Ronde do good team work, and they make mostly all of the touchdowns in the whole game. The boy¿s mother says play proud. Ronde lets his brother run the ball back. They are going to the superstar game. Do you think they are going to make it? {yes} They are going to make it. Tiki and Ronde were each other¿s best friends. Now they both play for different teams. Ronde plays tamp bay Buccaneers and Tiki plays for the New York Giant. I like this book because they stuck by each other¿s side.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2005

    A Great Character-Building Book

    Children who have followed the careers of football greats Tiki and Ronde Barber may not know that one of the twins was almost sidelined permanently from playing while still a boy. That story is told in By My Brother's Side. A serious leg injury has the family doctor predicting that Tiki might never play sports again, but he fails to take into account Tiki's love for the game, his positive attitude, and his devotion to his brother. Ronde's support is enormously helpful, too; he spends hours by his brother's side, recalling memorable games and talking about their heroes, which helps keep Tiki's spirits up. After watching from the sidelines for what seems an interminable summer, Tiki rejoins Ronde for practice and gradually regains his mobility and prowess. He keps telling himself, 'I can do it.' And when football season starts, Tiki is again part of the team. This book shows the importance of having a goal and moving toward it, step by step, until that goal is reached. And for every child who has been sidelined because of his size or ability, this book may be just the inspiration he needs. Those who enjoy this book may also enjoy another picture book, Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee - A Bee's Bit of Wisdom. In it, a young girl learns the value of courage and perseverance when faced with a daunting challenge. Books like By My Brother's Side and Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee are valuable tools for teaching children the importance of developing a strong character.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2007

    A great story from outstanding football players and role models

    My sons loved this book and the other two from the same authors. The story is interesting shows teamwork and hardwork. It is worth the read and I think all boys who like football should read it.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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