Life keeps knocking 12-year-old Alan down.
Can he find the courage to get back up?
Orphaned at a young age, all Alan Michaels wants is a place to belong. But the independent, street–smart kid, who lacks self-confidence, has no clue how to deal with disappointment – or a formidable bully who won’t back down. And New York City is a tough town to grow up in if you are a kid who doesn’t have much. But when he starts training at Sensei Hideki’s School of Karate, he hopes his life will change forever.
Determined to prove he’s got what it takes to become a true warrior, he pushes his body and mind to the limit. But just when the karate school starts to feel like home, tragedy strikes again. Does Alan have the courage and inner strength to overcome the odds stacked against him?
“When you get knocked down, you just keep getting back up
…You never give up.” Sensei paused for a moment and spoke
louder. “That’s what takes real guts.” He stared at Alan intently.
“You know, sometimes failures are your steppingstones
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.40(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An uplifting, inspiring, heart warming big city story. JBW
Sharply written and funny, 'You Gotta Have Heart' tells an inspiring coming of age story about an orphaned adolescent boy in New York City who develops a tough outer skin through karate lessons. Terrifically observed with a compelling narrative, the story explores the young protagonist's friendships with older role models who guide him through a tough passage in life. Characters are realistic and engaging. This a great choice for young and middle grade readers who will be entertained while gaining insight into what it takes to persevere in life.
My three children (ages 9, 13, & 16) all gave this book a five-star review! This story really captured the importance of perseverance. Alan, the main character, teaches us a lot of important lessons throughout this book. I would definitely recommend this story, as it's a great read.
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite You Gotta Have Heart is a coming of age novel for children and preteens written by Bruce Bernstein. Alan Michaels was excited and just a bit nervous about his first day of classes at Sensei Hideki’s School of Karate. He was the first boy from the Home who had received a full scholarship to the dojo, and he felt this was his chance to be really good at something. Alan was small for his age, but he couldn’t help standing up for his roommate, Chris, a younger and smaller boy, who was often tormented by Frankie and Jack, two older boys. The first person the twelve-year-old met as he entered the dojo was tough looking, even scary, but Alan almost thought he noticed Mr. Morris smiling at him as he bowed in greeting. Sensei Hideki was an even bigger surprise. He was just a few inches taller than Alan himself, but his presence was more powerful than Mr. Morris’s was. Sensei Hideki confirmed that Alan would be learning self-defense, but he’d also get so much more out of his karate training if he was willing to work hard. Bruce Bernstein’s coming of age novel for children and preteens, You Gotta Have Heart, has it all. Bernstein’s characters are multi-faceted and complex, making them seem real. His location, especially as seen through the eyes of Alan Michaels, who knows so much about the city and its history, will surprise even those New Yorkers who think they know everything there is to know about that amazing island. The plot, which follows a young orphaned boy as he comes of age, is inspiring, moving and unforgettable. Alan’s world opens up beautifully from the moment when he climbs up those three flights of stairs for the first time. Watching as it happens is so illuminating and powerful. This book may very well have kids putting down their game controllers and getting into martial arts instead -- and that’s a very good thing. You Gotta Have Heart is most highly recommended.