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You gotta have heart
Orphaned bi-racial boy in Central Park

Life keeps knocking 12-year-old Alan down. Can he find the courage to get back up?


            Orphaned at a young age, all Alan Michaels wants is a place to belong. But the independent, street–smart kid, who lacks self-confidence, has no clue how to deal with disappointment – or a formidable bully who won’t back down. And New York City is a tough town to grow up in if you are a kid who doesn’t have much. But when he starts training at Sensei Hideki’s School of Karate, he hopes his life will change forever. 

            Determined to prove he’s got what it takes to become a true warrior, he pushes his body and mind to the limit. But just when the karate school starts to feel like home, tragedy strikes again. Does Alan have the courage and inner strength to overcome the odds stacked against him?

            You Gotta Have Heart is a powerful middle grade, action adventure book suitable for ages 10 and up. If you like scrappy underdogs, martial arts, and stories of overcoming adversity, then you will love this coming of age tale.

“You’re going to have good days and bad days. Maybe you don’t pass a test or make your school team on the first try. …Those things happen in life--but you owe it to yourself to try your hardest. ...When you get knocked down, you just keep getting back up. ...You never give up.” Sensei paused for a moment and spoke louder. “That’s what takes real guts.” He stared at Alan intently. “You know, sometimes failures are your steppingstones to success.”

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