ONUESOKE FOUNDATION MOBILE LIBRARY
****READ A BOOK PROFILE **
****READ A BOOK PROFILE **
STORY OF THE WEEK…
NO PLACE TO PLAY. Authored by Sarah Kovatch and illustrations by Arvis Stewart.
David played indoors all winter, counting the days until spring. Some of the time, though, he didn’t feel very patient. And so after what seemed like a million years of snow and ice and playing quietly on the carpet (really it had only been five months), David woke up to a warm and sunny Saturday.
Sensing something different in the air, David propped open his bedroom window and gave the air an expert sniff. “Yes!” he declared, enjoying a healthy breath of warm air, “skateboarding season has arrived!”
He felt so delighted by the sounds of birds chirping in the trees and radios blaring from the cars passing on the street. Every year when the season changed to spring, David could hardly contain his extra energy and blissful mood. He sprang out of bed and rummaged around in his closet.
First, he found his favorite baggy shorts. Then, he slipped on his neon green sneakers. It was such a pleasure to feel the air on his skin instead of heavy winter layers of coats… and boots… and hats… and snow pants.
Finally, David peered beneath his bed. He had to search around, but there it was – his skateboard.
This was no ordinary skateboard. David spent all winter fixing it up. He found special wheels at the skateboarding store to help him go as fast as possible. He also decorated the board’s bottom with neon green tape to match his neon green sneakers.
David rushed into the kitchen with his skateboard. His mother was absorbed with the newspaper crossword puzzle. His father was still in his robe, hovering over the stove making pancakes. David looked at the parents he loved so much and wondered how in the world they could appear so quiet and calm on the first warm morning of the year. Didn’t they want to run and jump about like he did?
“Morning, Mom. Morning, Dad,” David said as he gave each of his parents a quick squeeze. He wanted to hurry up and roll down the block on his skateboard before his mother asked him to do chores all morning.
“There’s nothing like the smell of golden pancakes, right son?” His father said, yawning and slowly turning a wooden in the pancake bowl.
David felt too excited for breakfast. “I’m not hungry, Dad! I’m going skateboarding.”
“Not so fast, David,” His mother said from the table. “You need to have a healthy meal, first.”
Whenever she looked at him like that, he knew she was serious. He sat down and slid the board beneath his chair.
“Now that you’re joining us,” David’s father said, “How many pancakes would you like?” David sighed and gulped a glass of juice. “Since I’m here,” he sighed, “I guess I’ll have six.”
He ate six pancakes and then had two more. After another big glass of orange juice, David reached for his skateboard. “Now I’m ready,” he said.
“You can go skateboarding, David, but don’t go past the library at the end of the block. I want to be able to see where you are all day,” his father said.
“Okay, Dad,” said David. “Bye, Mom,” He called. Then he rolled down the block, feeling free as the wind.
Just as David had expected, he found four of his school friends – Gabrielle, Henry, Yoshi, and Sam – playing on the steps of the library. David was glad to see that skateboards accompanied them all.
“Hi, David”, said Gabrielle. “We were having an ‘ollie’ contest. Join us!”
“You bet!” said David, eager to experiment with his new wheels.
In a matter of minutes, David and his crew were executing ollies all over the library property. Gabrielle and Yoshi ollied high off the library steps. Quick as can be, Henry slid down the library railing. All the while, Sam and David dodged library customers who were coming in and out of the building.
The friends moved as though propelled by comet tails. Some of the library customers raised their eyebrows and scowled at the young skateboarders, but that only encouraged David and his friends to be more daring. How they loved the music of their wheels crashing down upon the stone steps of the library!
David felt as though his heart had wings. His quicksilver footwork was as sure as ever, and something about the perfect blue sky made him smile from ear to ear. Gabrielle skated toward him, stopping on a tail slide. Her smile stretched from ear to ear, too.
“Those are cool shoes, David,” she said, looking down. “I like the way they match your skateboard.”
David was bashful when people complimented him. He stammered a little and blushed. Just as he was about to say thank you, he saw Gabrielle look up and gasp.
David swiveled around. Right behind him, standing tall and stern, was a police officer. David’s winged-heart feeling turned heavy and his breath caught in his throat.
“Hello, kids,” said the police officer.
David’s friends stopped skating and gathered around. “Hello,” they all mumbled. David felt scared of the police officer. Was he in trouble?
“I’m going to have to ask you to skateboard somewhere else. This is not a good place to play,” explained the officer.
“The library is a very old building. Skateboarding is too rough for the stone steps. Maybe you can skateboard in your backyard instead,” the officer suggested.
“But our backyards only have grass,” protested David. “We can’t skateboard on grass.”
“I’m sorry. You must find somewhere else. This is not a place for skateboarders. If I find you here again, I’m going to have to call your parents.”
David and his friends apologized to the police officer and picked up their skateboards. All of David’s blissful springtime energy leaked from his muscles. Now he was frustrated and glum.
The skater friends watched as the police officer walked away. David wasn’t the only glum kid with a skateboard. All of his friends’ faces had changed from carefree to sad. They were all silent and sullen as they kicked little pebbles on the street. David spoke first.
“There is no place around here to skateboard!” he complained. “We’re always being asked to leave.”
“I know,” said Yoshi. “Remember last year when my mom took us to the park? That police officer came and told her that we couldn’t skate on the fountain because it would ruin the fountain.”
“Our teachers won’t let us skateboard at recess, either, because it’s bad for the bricks around the front entrance,” David continued.
His friends nodded. They all propped up their boards and sat on the library steps. Anyone passing by could tell that they were feeling forlorn.
“There’s nothing to do,” they all moaned at once. Then they all skated home.
“See you later, maybe,” they all called back at one another.
David skated slowly back home. He felt disappointed at how the day had turned out. Skateboarding was the whole point of spring! He was not looking forward to spending all of spring and summer playing quietly on the carpet indoors. He certainly did not want to be in trouble with his parents or the police. Nevertheless, he knew something would have to change. But what?