Gunner Football Hero

Talking Notes

Gunner Football Hero (K-3rd)

A young football player gets the chance to play in the championship game in this unusual story about sportsmanship. So what if Gunner is rounder than most football players? He throws a stellar pass! When he becomes third-string quarterback on his Pee Wee Football team, he fears he won't ever get to take the field. But in the championship game his team's luck runs out, and it is up to Gunner to lead them to victory. Will his awesome arm save the game? James Ransome's illustrations add humor and life to this unusual story about sportsmanship.


  1. People are quick to judge a book (Gunner) by its cover, but you should get to know someone before jumping to conclusions and forming your own opinion.
  2. The book has a good representation of multiple races. This is good for young readers to get exposure to and learn to accept the everybody is different.
  3. This book is also inspirational, even though Gunner was delegated to being the third stream quarter back he used that as motivation to work hard and be read when his number was called. Gunner surprised everyone in the town with his play on the field. The hit from the other team was also inspirational to other girls who look at football as a male only sport, girls can play too!

Author/Illustrator: James E. Ransome

James Ransom is an acclaimed painter and illustrator and Assistant Professor at Syracuse University Department of Art. This winner of both the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration for Creation and the Coretta Scott King Honor Award for Illustration for Uncle Jed’s Barbershop was named by the Children’s Book Council as one of seventy-five authors and illustrators everyone should know. James is participating in the Center for the Book’s “Exquisite Corpse Adventure,” an episodic story project developed by the Library of Congress and the National Children’s Book and Reading Alliance. James lives in New York State with his family. Visit him online at


cleats, defense, defensive back, first-string, intercepted, long bomb, offensive, playbook, punt, quarterback, receivers, rookie, running back, sacked, second-string, spiral, third-string, touch-down, wide receiver. We will discuss the meanings of some of these terms.

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