Sunny: Track, Book 3

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Sunny: Track, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Runner finds own way to grieve in unique series volume.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers learn about onomatopoeia (words made from sounds) through its use throughout the book. There's also discussion of techniques of throwing the discus.  

Positive Messages

Running your own race. Take a chance on finding what you truly like to do vs. continuing to do something you don't enjoy. Find your own way to dedal with a loved one's death and process your grief. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sunny has the courage to walk away from racing and the courage to explore what he loves, which is dance. His fellow track members step up to offer encouragement and support in the face of ridicule from other, less understanding team members. The adults in Sunny's life (besides his father) let him work through problems on his own while offering support. HIs coach listens to what Sunny says about wanting to dance instead of run and finds a way to keep Sunny on the team (by switching to the discus throw), so he can still have an outlet and be with friends.


Sunny's father yells and throws items off a table at one point. Sunny chokes on a piece of bread and thrashes about, knocking things around in the kitchen.


Some mild teasing, including calling things "stupid" and teens telling each other to "shut up."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A woman is described as being an ex-addict who celebrated sobriety with a bad tattoo every year.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sunny: Track Book 3 is the third book in the Track series by awarding-winning, New York Times Bestselling author Jason Reynolds (Long Way Down, As Brave as You).  The book can act as a standalone, however teammates from earlier books in the series do make an appearance. The book deals with grief and the loss of a parent, teamwork, self-care, and finding your own path.

User Reviews

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Parent of a 3, 5, and 9-year-old Written byChristine V. August 16, 2018

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What's the story?

SUNNY Lancaster is a winner -- all the time, every time in the 1,600-meter race. The one no one watches. He ran the mile for his mom who died giving birth to him, who couldn't run the mile anymore. He ran for his dad, who's still in deep grief over Sunny's mom dying. A dad who barely speaks to him. He didn't run for himself. So one day Sunny ... just ... stops. Stops winning, stops running. Now what?

Is it any good?

This distinctly different book for a distinctly different character delves into what makes the "weird kid" tick, more like like what makes him tick, tick, boom, and whoosh. The protagonist of Sunny has a weird life being homeschooled with a dad who makes Sunny call him by his first name. And Sunny speaks in a unique way -- using onomatopoeia (words made from sounds) to describe everything from feelings to situations to movement. This can be jarring at first, but considering Sunny is also a dancer, it begins to make sense and readers will get into the groove. Previous teammates from the Track series make brief appearances, but the book has its own vibe separate from the others and the track for which the series is named.

Parents and teachers will like the opportunity to explore how sounds can be used as words and the opportunity to discuss grief and healing. Kids will enjoy Sunny's quirks and find strength to forge their own life moves using Sunny's example. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how grief in shown in Sunny,Track Book 3. How does Sunny's dad deal with his grief? Is it healthy? Why or why not? Have you ever dealt with the loss of a close family member? How did you work through your grief?

  • Do you think Sunny's dad bullied him into running the mile? How have you dealt with bullies in school or at home?

  • The technique of onomatopoeia (swords made from sounds) is used throughout the book. How do the "boom tick tick booms" help you get to know Sunny? What words-as-sounds do you use to express yourself?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports stories and grief tales

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