When second-graders gathered in the academic commons at Hambright Elementary recently for a reading from a local author, they heard from someone barely older than them.
It was Carter Mealy, a Central Manor third-grader, reading from the book, Like a Champion: A Story About Building Confidence.
The book is about a young athlete, Champion, who is intimidated by the older, more skilled members of his gymnastics team. Champion learns to overcome his doubts by listening to every instruction delivered by his coach and working hard.
Carter co-wrote the book with his father, Dr. Todd Mealy, an educator and historian who has authored 10 books on historical figures, civil rights and education pedagogy. Carter’s mother is Eshleman Elementary Principal Dr. Melissa Mealy.
On December 8, Carter read Like a Champion to more than a dozen classes, from kindergarten to third grade, at Hambright and Eshleman Elementary. He especially wanted to read in the classrooms of two of his former teachers, Lorena Glenn and Karen Devenburgh.
The book is dedicated to them, along with teacher Becca Eichler and Carter’s coaches at Prestige Gymnastics.
In addition to reading the book, Carter talked about the writing process and waiting for Like a Champion – it took 18 months from start to finish – to finally arrive from the publisher, Austin Macauley.
The 32-page book, which came out in November 2023, is available for purchase on Amazon.
“I was checking every day to see if it was here,” Carter said. When it finally arrived, he said it was like opening a Christmas present.
The impetus for the book, Melissa Mealy said, was a discussion between Carter and his father as they waited to pick up Carter’s sister at field hockey camp.
“There was a group of older boys playing soccer and Todd encouraged Carter to play with them. He was very reluctant and refused to play,” she said. “When they talked about it, Todd realized that Carter was also a little intimidated by the older, strong boys at gymnastics, which sparked the idea for the book.”
“What is in your control? How do you focus on your own performance without getting overwhelmed by what others are doing?”
The book includes a guide to help teachers lead discussions with students about the theme and key ideas.
Carter is hoping that he and his father can turn the book into a series that follows Champion as he attempts other sports and activities.
Many thanks to Carter for sharing his story with other students and teachers.