Mode

kid

parent

Lev is determined to be a champion this year — until he meets his new training partner, who is not what he expected. The path to the state wrestling championships just got a lot more complicated!
Ages 10+
Pages 263
Publisher Penguin Random House
Coming Feb 2021
Awards
Junior Library Guild Selection

Average Rating

70 Reviews
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What the Book Is About

Lev is determined to beat his rival on the wrestling team and make it to the state championships, while Mikayla wants to follow in the footsteps of her wrestling champ father and older brothers. When she joins the Gladiators and becomes Lev’s training partner, he’s not happy to be working with a girl, and some of the other boys don’t want Mickey on the team at all. Eventually, Lev comes to respect her skill and determination to succeed in a male-dominated sport, and he begins to see wrestling in a different light. Told in alternating chapters through the eyes of Lev and Mickey, Takedown introduces kids to a less common sport. It’s also about friendship, responsibility, discrimination, and the price of winning at all costs.

Jewish Content & Values

  • Lev’s father is Israeli, and Lev calls him Abba (Hebrew for Dad). Lev has been to Israel twice to visit his Saba and Safta (grandparents).
  • Lev’s family celebrates Hanukkah and Passover.
  • Lev’s family used to have Shabbat (sabbath) dinner until wrestling got in the way; Lev misses their Friday night dinners and making challah with his sister and father. Later in the book, Lev decides he wants to make Shabbat a priority.
  • Wrestling is not just the subject of this book; it is linked thematically to Lev and Mickey’s struggles to resolve conflicts within themselves and with siblings, to grow as a result of the experience, and to find their place in their community. While writing Takedown, the author was inspired by the Biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel (Genesis 32:25).

Positive Role Models

  • Lev is initially against wrestling against a girl, but when he realizes how unfair it is that Mikayla is experiencing discrimination, he works to change the attitudes of his teammates and their fans. When he sees his idol playing dirty and accidentally hurts a friend during practice, he misses the fun and good sportsmanship of the less competitive stages of the sport.
  • Mickey idolizes her older brothers and her father, all wrestling champions, and she wants to follow in their footsteps. She shows grit and determination in joining the more competitive all-boy team and refuses to quit even when her teammates won’t accept her and male opponents refuse to wrestle against her. When her brother deliberately hurts another boy, she does the right thing despite the potential consequences to the family’s relationships.

Content Advisory

Wrestling is a very physical and occasionally violent sport. Mickey's brother and Lev's idol, Evan, has anger management problems, and he attacks a boy at a match, which Lev, in particular, finds upsetting.

Talk It Over

Some of the boys refuse to wrestle Mickey just because she's a girl. Have you ever witnessed someone being unfairly exclused? What did you do?

More for You

Baseball may lay claim as the sport most loved by Jews, but we have a history with wrestling too, going back to the Bible. In the book of Genesis (Bereshit), Jacob wrestles with God, after which he earns the name Israel. In contemporary sports, William Goldberg is the only Jewish champion of World Championship Wrestling. Another successful professional wrestler, Barry Horowitz, wrestled with a Star of David on his trunks and entered the ring to Hava Nagila, while Colt Cabana paid for his first wrestling training with his bar mitzvah money.

What the Book Is About

What the Book Is About

Lev is determined to beat his rival on the wrestling team and make it to the state championships, while Mikayla wants to follow in the footsteps of her wrestling champ father and older brothers. When she joins the Gladiators and becomes Lev’s training partner, he’s not happy to be working with a girl, and some of the other boys don’t want Mickey on the team at all. Eventually, Lev comes to respect her skill and determination to succeed in a male-dominated sport, and he begins to see wrestling in a different light. Told in alternating chapters through the eyes of Lev and Mickey, Takedown introduces kids to a less common sport. It’s also about friendship, responsibility, discrimination, and the price of winning at all costs.

Jewish Content & Values

  • Lev’s father is Israeli, and Lev calls him Abba (Hebrew for Dad). Lev has been to Israel twice to visit his Saba and Safta (grandparents).
  • Lev’s family celebrates Hanukkah and Passover.
  • Lev’s family used to have Shabbat (sabbath) dinner until wrestling got in the way; Lev misses their Friday night dinners and making challah with his sister and father. Later in the book, Lev decides he wants to make Shabbat a priority.
  • Wrestling is not just the subject of this book; it is linked thematically to Lev and Mickey’s struggles to resolve conflicts within themselves and with siblings, to grow as a result of the experience, and to find their place in their community. While writing Takedown, the author was inspired by the Biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel (Genesis 32:25).

Positive Role Models

  • Lev is initially against wrestling against a girl, but when he realizes how unfair it is that Mikayla is experiencing discrimination, he works to change the attitudes of his teammates and their fans. When he sees his idol playing dirty and accidentally hurts a friend during practice, he misses the fun and good sportsmanship of the less competitive stages of the sport.
  • Mickey idolizes her older brothers and her father, all wrestling champions, and she wants to follow in their footsteps. She shows grit and determination in joining the more competitive all-boy team and refuses to quit even when her teammates won’t accept her and male opponents refuse to wrestle against her. When her brother deliberately hurts another boy, she does the right thing despite the potential consequences to the family’s relationships.

Content Advisory

Wrestling is a very physical and occasionally violent sport. Mickey's brother and Lev's idol, Evan, has anger management problems, and he attacks a boy at a match, which Lev, in particular, finds upsetting.

Talk It Over

Some of the boys refuse to wrestle Mickey just because she's a girl. Have you ever witnessed someone being unfairly exclused? What did you do?

More for You

Baseball may lay claim as the sport most loved by Jews, but we have a history with wrestling too, going back to the Bible. In the book of Genesis (Bereshit), Jacob wrestles with God, after which he earns the name Israel. In contemporary sports, William Goldberg is the only Jewish champion of World Championship Wrestling. Another successful professional wrestler, Barry Horowitz, wrestled with a Star of David on his trunks and entered the ring to Hava Nagila, while Colt Cabana paid for his first wrestling training with his bar mitzvah money.