Book Review: Beyond the Laces


“Beyond the Laces” – Bob Salomon

Salomon and Young deliver a memorable and stirring tale of kindness and redemption with their children’s book Beyond the Laces. Sports stars from across the land have given the book two thumbs up, from Dodgers manager and Hall of Fame Hopeful, Don Mattingly, to ESPN football analysts Herman Edwards and Ron JaworksiThis heartwarming tale is paired nicely with vivid illustrations and nostalgic rhyme and verse, making it enjoyable not just for young sports fans, but everyone!

With the fall season comes many exciting things for the sports enthusiast. MLB’s post season, college and professional basketball on the horizon, and most evidently: FOOTBALL. Football and the falling leaves and crisp air seem to coincide and work together to bring about a spirit of anticipation. This spirit is captured in BTL and along with it is a message that our youth must hear: people do indeed care and kindness can change everything.

Grade – A


Most of us have had that favorite athlete growing up or even now that has always seemed larger than life, on and off the field. There are a bunch of home run hitters and touch down receivers out there, but fewer that carry that excellence out of the stadium end zone and into the end zone of life. The story’s hero (#87) is just that and a role model that every parent would encourage for their child. It’s out of a brief yet powerful exchange between an ailing young fan and the heroic #87 that births the transforming message of BTL.


Former Phillies Center Fielder and current ESPN baseball analyst Doug Glanville, pictured with a copy of BTL

The Turnaround

The tale of a discouraged boy with plenty of experience watching the game unfold from the sidelines would not come full circle without reconciliation of some sort, and so the story goes. A small but tangible act of kindness transforms the boy from a sidelined spectator to a player in short order. Everyone appreciates an underdog story, the moment when impossible yields to possible, and the moral of the story is really all about this type of turnaround, a valuable lesson that’s better learned sooner rather than later.

Beyond The Laces is so much more than a children’s book. It touches hearts to inspire families, using the game that’s dear to my heart: football. It is one of my favorite books to read to my kids. The message is so heartfelt and pure.” 18 year NFL veteran QB, Mark Brunell

It’s quite easy to get lost in this book no matter your taste for literature. Believe me, I’m a lover of non-fiction and dry, historical biographies but I genuinely enjoyed this children’s book, putting myself in the shoes of the main character with every turn of the page. The best part of the book I’ve found is the question(s) that it leaves the reader upon wrapping up. I’d be remiss to unveil this detail but suffice it to say that it challenges every reader to examine deeper questions like faith, courage and action, as these are the ultimate test in the face of adversity. It’s this unashamed climactic call that makes Beyond the Laces a true winner for every fan of goodness and kindness.


Joe D’Orsie – Communications & Spiritual Life Counsel