The ­Longest Shot: How Larry Kwong Changed the Face of Hockey

Orca. Feb. 2024. 104p. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781459835030.
Gr 4-6–Born in 1923 in Vernon, British Columbia, Chinese Canadian Larry Kwong had a big dream: playing hockey for the NHL. This biography explores Kwong’s journey to becoming the first player of Asian descent to play in the NHL, as well as discussing the color barrier and Asian hate historically faced by Chinese Canadians. Canadian hockey players of many ethnic backgrounds are portrayed, as well as Kwong’s friends and family, which include Asian and white people. The illustrations often rely on side profiles or front-facing portraits but are very colorful and engaging. Text generally makes up half of the page, with white space and illustrations making the layout more inviting and accessible. Although the book relies heavily on facts and dates, it also includes quotes from Kwong throughout that help add interest. A glossary covers both hockey and equity-specific language that is used in the book. Chapters are broken into small sections, usually only a paragraph long, with frequent sidebars, which make it easier to read and follow the story. Overall, these elements combine to make this book great for building reading confidence or attracting reluctant readers. One of the authors has Taiwanese Canadian heritage, and the other author and the illustrator identify as Chinese Canadian.
VERDICT Highly recommended; an easy-to-read sports biography with cross-genre appeal.

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