The tenth Iowa Children's Choice Award nominee that I chose to read was The Underdogs by Mike Lupica. The Underdogs is a story of a struggling small town and how in order to save money they are going to discontinue little league football. Will, a boy with a passion and talent for football, works to save his season.
There are so many positive themes you could highlight out of this book. It would also work well for teaching making predictions, character and setting.
It could be used as a model during a lesson on persuasive writing! Will writes from the heart and well you will have to read to find out what it gets him!