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Children's Fiction Hockey

Game Face

by (author) Shari Green

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2023
Hockey, Stories in Verse, Depression & Mental Illness
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2023
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Thirteen-year-old Jonah is determined to prove that anxiety won’t stop him from succeeding as his hockey team’s goalie in this dynamic novel in verse.

What-ifs rattle around his brain at the worst times, like when he’s in the middle of a playoff game. What if he lets his teammates down? What if he can’t make it pro? And the biggest what-if of all, the one he keeps to himself — what if he’s like his dad, whose life is controlled by anxiety that has only gotten worse since Jonah’s mom died in a car crash?

To prove that he’s not like that, Jonah is determined to succeed in the high-stress role of goalie. He and his best friend Ty have big plans for their hockey futures. But when Ty suffers a medical crisis during a pivotal game, Jonah’s anxiety ramps up to new levels

It takes courage to ask for help, but Jonah starts to realize that his team goes beyond the people who lace up their skates with him every week, and maybe it’s okay to look for support on and off the ice.

From the adrenaline rush of sudden-death overtime to the weight of worrying about letting your teammates — and yourself — down, this novel in verse will hook readers from the first line.


Key Text Features




Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:


Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).


Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

About the author

Shari Green spent a large portion of her childhood summers reading stacks of library books, and she’s still in love with stories today. Her acclaimed novels for young readers include Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, which was a USBBY Outstanding International Book, a Junior Library Guild selection, the winner of the ALA Schneider Family Middle School Book Award, and a finalist for a dozen reader’s choice awards. Missing Mike was nominated for ten reader’s choice awards and selected as an NCTE Notable Poetry Book, among many other honors. Shari lives in Campbell River, British Columbia.


Shari Green's profile page

Excerpt: Game Face (by (author) Shari Green)

The goal light flashes on

crowd groans

our players



I whip around

see the puck

tucked in the corner


— disbelief


even though I know

it’s a goal.




in my face

so close. His eyes blaze

but his voice

is ice — I thought you said

you had this.

Editorial Reviews

An unvarnished problem-focused novel with occasional doses of quick ice hockey action.


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