John Feinstein: A Transformative Author

[Every kid that loves sports and reading has enjoyed the books of the great John Feinstein.  A number of years ago, I did a report on Coach Bobby Knight in lower school.  A Season on the Brink, a Feinstein classic, was a centerpiece source and remains one of the iconic books on The General of all-time.  Knight would later call the decision to participate in the reporting on A Season on the Brink to be one of the dumbest decisions he ever made.    


One of our younger readers and writers, Mac Trigg, makes the case here that Feinstein is one of the top sports writers for young kids of all-time.  Along with Mike Lupica and Tim Green, there is a strong case to be made that no one has had a bigger impact on sports writing for kids in the last decade.]  

John Feinstein is one of the most prominent authors writing books about sports for kids today.  It can be argued that he is changing how kids view important topics with his writing.  This piece will explore several of my favorite Feinstein books.


The first Feinstein classic is The DH.  It is one of my favorite books of all-time.  For starters, The DH is suspenseful. Each chapter has a cliff hanger ending that will have you quickly turning to the next page.  In addition, Gordon, Christine and Alex are all back from The Walk On and key to the plot.  Finally, Alex and Matt Gordon make major changes in their personalities.  Matt is not watching the competition for best pitcher from the sidelines.  He is competing and fighting for that distinction.  He also is competing to see if he can win over Christine.  This book proves that Feinstein can put together the kind of page-turning stories that kids want to read.      


The second book is Vanishing Act. The Vanishing Act focuses on one of my favorite sports: tennis.  Interestingly, it was the first book by John Feinstein that I ever read, in part, because there are very few books written today on this great game. The book itself is riveting as it revolves around a kidnapping.  It also has great character development.  One reason may be that the protagonist is a writer just like Feinstein.   

The third and final book is The 6th Man.  Like all of Feinstein’s books, the character development was very good and includes many of the athletes that you enjoyed from The Walk On and The DH.   In addition, this book focused on another one of my favorite sports: basketball.  You have to love anything that revolves around the game that Dr. James Naismith invented back in 1891.  There is, however, some adult content in this book.  Some parents may not be comfortable with several of the topics raised and it may not be for every young reader.  Like the Walk On and The DH, this book is one that you will have trouble putting down.    


In conclusion, John Feinstein is a great author that receives my highest level of recommendation.  You should check out his work at at top independent bookstores like Kansas City-based Rainy Day Books or at a location near you. 

Mac Trigg

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6 comments on “John Feinstein: A Transformative Author
  1. Mr Freeman says:

    Mr Hennessy,

    I don’t like your tone. Football coaches are all the same: hotheads. I like art and beautiful music.

  2. Mr Hennessey says:

    Nice article. I love football and have a chance to coach at the youth level. It would be nice if you had some books about football in your list. Tennis is for sissies.

  3. iPad says:

    Good Night, iPad. If you haven’t read this book, you will LOVE it. Hilarious.

  4. Mr Magnolia says:

    You article might have been better if the whole article was about The DH and baseball. By the way, I like it went the pitcher hit. The DH is for wimps.

  5. Gaines says:

    Elliot makes a good point. It is a top notch series. I strongly recommended it.

  6. Elliot Glass says:

    You might want to think about Ballpark Mysteries. The books are really good.

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