The Middle School Rules of Jamaal Charles: as told by Sean Jensen

BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC
Free sample

Five running backs were selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Jamaal Charles was not among them. Despite piling up the fourth-most rushing yards at the University of Texas in just three seasons, he waited for eight other running backs to get selected ahead of him.

The Middle School Rules of Jamaal Charles features the stories and lessons of Jamaal’s childhood, defined by people overlooking him. Young readers will see how Jamaal deals with bullying and endures teasing because of a long undiag- nosed learning disability that enabled him to participate in the Special Olympics as a 10-year-old. The gold medals he won at the Special Olympics empowered him, and Jamaal displayed a rare work ethic and determination in everything he did on the field and in the classroom.

“I just kept working, just kept fighting,” Jamaal says. “If you give up, you will not ever know how far you would have gotten.”
A state champion hurdler, Jamaal ran for 4,107 yards and 50 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas. But readers will see how hard Jamaal had to study to earn a high enough mark on a standardized test to qualify for a full athletic scholarship.

Dogged by doubts about his size, Jamaal is already the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and has more career rushing yards and total touchdowns than all but two of the eight running backs selected ahead of him in the 2008 NFL Draft. In fact, Jamaal owns a special NFL re- cord: More yards per carry (5.5) than any other running back with at least 1,000 career carries!

Jamaal wants his legacy to extend beyond football fields. His Jamaal Charles Youth Matters Family Foundation promotes the development of healthy minds and bodies and reinforces the motto that, “Determination wins.” Jamaal inspired mil- lions at the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles by sharing his story of struggle and triumph. “I was afraid. I was lost. I had trouble reading. I found out I had a learning disability,” he said. “People made fun of me. They said I would never go anywhere. But I learned I can fly... the Special Olympics gave me my first chance to discover a talent I did not know I had.” 
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About the author

SEAN JENSEN was born in South Korea. He was adopted and grew up in California, Massachusetts, and Virginia, mostly on or near military bases. Given his unique background, he’s always been drawn to storytelling, a skill he developed at Northwestern University and crafted as a sportswriter for the last 16 years, almost exclusively covering the NFL. During his career, he has fostered strong relationships with athletes in multiple sports, and penned award-winning features on Derrick Rose and Jared Allen, among others. Sean and his wife make their home in Hopkins, MN. 

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Additional Information

Publisher
BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC
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Published on
Feb 1, 2017
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9781424553013
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Juvenile Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Sports & Recreation
Juvenile Nonfiction / Sports & Recreation / Football
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Sean Jensen
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But even more than his acclaim on the field, Tillman is highly regarded off the field. With his father serving in the United States Army, Tillman attended 11 different schools domestically and internationally. Lightly recruited out of Copperas Cove High School in Texas, Tillman was offered a single Division 1-A scholarship, but he shined at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and was selected by the Bears in the second round of the NFL Draft.

In 2005, Tillman and his wife Jackie established the Cornerstone Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and opportunities to children in
need. Tillman was a 2012 finalist for the NFL Players Association’s Byron White Man of the Year award, and he was the 2013 winner of the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which “recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.”

The Middle School Rules of Charles Tillman will feature the defining childhood stories of a young, well-traveled boy nicknamed “Peanut,” who had to deal with racism, adapt to constant relocation, and endure the divorce of his parents. Inspired by faith and family, Tillman persevered and carved out an indelible mark both on and off the field. 

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Skylar shares personal anecdotes that helped her become the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year and one of the most decorated collegiate basketball players. “She was the most important recruit in the history of our program,” Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach, Muffet McGraw, says. “Skylar was in our own backyard, and we couldn’t let her get away.” Skylar Diggins did not disappoint.

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500 assists, and 300 steals in a career. In the WNBA, Skylar, is starting guard for the Dallas Wings, a two-time All Star Starter, WNBA’s 2014 Most Improved Player and Named to WNBA’s 2014 First Team.

Off the court, she oversees Skylar’s Scholars, a program that highlights the academic achievement of youth who have overcome challenges or achieved goals, and she serves on the board of directors for the GenYouth Foundation. Aside from sports mediums like ESPN and Sports Illustrated, Skylar has also been featured in Vogue and Self, and has been on MTV. 
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Skylar Diggins is a basketball phenomenon, receiving her first letter of interest from a respected college coach when she was in fifth grade. She is an icon: signing as the first female client of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, serving as the face of Nike’s Women’s Basketball Collection, and establishing herself as a must-follow on social media platforms such as Instagram (931,000 followers) and Twitter (604,000 followers).The Middle School Rules of Skylar Diggins features Skylar’s defining childhood stories and lessons about growing up in a diverse middle-class family. Young readers will learn how Skylar dealt with bullying, struggled to fit in at school, and figured out how to excel in basketball despite never being the tallest, strongest, or fastest player.

Skylar shares personal anecdotes that helped her become the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year and one of the most decorated collegiate basketball players. “She was the most important recruit in the history of our program,” Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach, Muffet McGraw, says. “Skylar was in our own backyard, and we couldn’t let her get away.” Skylar Diggins did not disappoint.

A four-time All-American, Skylar finished her career at Notre Dame owning or co-owning 32 game, season, or school records, and earned the distinction as one of just six NCAA Division 1 players to compile 2,000 points, 500 rebounds,
500 assists, and 300 steals in a career. In the WNBA, Skylar, is starting guard for the Dallas Wings, a two-time All Star Starter, WNBA’s 2014 Most Improved Player and Named to WNBA’s 2014 First Team.

Off the court, she oversees Skylar’s Scholars, a program that highlights the academic achievement of youth who have overcome challenges or achieved goals, and she serves on the board of directors for the GenYouth Foundation. Aside from sports mediums like ESPN and Sports Illustrated, Skylar has also been featured in Vogue and Self, and has been on MTV. 
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 Over a dozen seasons, Charles Tillman established himself as the greatest cornerback in the storied history of the Chicago Bears. A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Tillman has been distinguished as one of the NFL’s most opportunistic defensive backs, intercepting 36 passes and forcing 42 fumbles—the most in the league since his rookie year in 2003. In fact, he popularized the “Peanut Punch,” a nod to his childhood nickname and a tribute to his knack for jarring a football from the grasp of an offensive player.

But even more than his acclaim on the field, Tillman is highly regarded off the field. With his father serving in the United States Army, Tillman attended 11 different schools domestically and internationally. Lightly recruited out of Copperas Cove High School in Texas, Tillman was offered a single Division 1-A scholarship, but he shined at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and was selected by the Bears in the second round of the NFL Draft.

In 2005, Tillman and his wife Jackie established the Cornerstone Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides resources and opportunities to children in
need. Tillman was a 2012 finalist for the NFL Players Association’s Byron White Man of the Year award, and he was the 2013 winner of the prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which “recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.”

The Middle School Rules of Charles Tillman will feature the defining childhood stories of a young, well-traveled boy nicknamed “Peanut,” who had to deal with racism, adapt to constant relocation, and endure the divorce of his parents. Inspired by faith and family, Tillman persevered and carved out an indelible mark both on and off the field. 

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