A Bike Like Sergio’s: Review and Giveaway!


Maribeth Boelts’ new book A Bike Like Sergio’s will appeal to readers and writers of all ages. It’s a heartfelt story with a message to which readers will relate; the right decision is often the hard choice.

From the publisher: “Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money? Presenting a relatable story told with subtlety and heart, the creative team behind Those Shoes pairs up again for a satisfying new picture book. Finders keepers, right? When Ruben picks up someone’s lost money, he finds out how hard it can be to do the right thing.”

The characters in this story will provide some readers with mirrors and  others with windows. The story will leave all readers with plenty to think about and discuss. I can imagine this book serving many purposes in lots of classrooms.

I decided to use Stacey’s new book Craft Moves to guide me as I contemplated how I might use this book to teach writers. And before I go any further, I must encourage you to get your hands on Craft Moves now, if you haven’t already. It is an invaluable tool for planning teaching points with mentor texts.

After looking at Stacey’s list of power craft moves (page 11), I read and reread A Bike Like Sergio’s with my writer lens.  Since the book does not have page numbers, I placed my sticky notes directly on pages, rather than on a separate chart.  This is what my book looked like when I finished:

a-bike-marked-up      a-bike-working

From there it became obvious what my teaching points with this text could be.

  • Punctuation helps create voice in writing.
  • Simple, to the point dialog is powerful- and  writers use dialog to move the plot forward.
  • Including a character’s internal thinking adds depth to both the character and the plot.
  • Telling a story in the present tense builds tension.

Not only is A Bike Like Sergio’s a beautiful story with a powerful message, but it will also make an excellent mentor text for writers. The fact that the text on each page is spare, will make this book accessible, rather than overwhelming  for young writers. The fact that the story is told using a range of craft moves will make it an excellent model for middle grade writers. The fact that the subject is one to which almost all of us can relate- that moment when we have to decide whether to satisfy a want or do the right thing- will inspire writers of all ages. 



  • This giveaway is for one copy of A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts. Many thanks to Candlewick Press for donating a copy of this book to one lucky blog commenter.
  • For a chance to win one copy of A Bike Like Sergio’s please leave a response to this post by Sunday, November 13th at 11:59 p.m. ET. Lisa Keeler will use a random number generator to pick a winner, whose name will be announced on this post on Monday, November 14th.
  • Please leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so Lisa can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. Our contact at Candlewick will mail the book to the winner.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
  • If you are the winner, Lisa will email you with the subject line “TWO WRITING TEACHERS – A BIKE LIKE SERGIO’S.” Please respond to her e-mail with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.