Do you ever look at the people around you and think: What are they going through? What does their life look like to them? What impact do I play in their story? Most of us don’t. We get focused on our own problems, our own goals, and our own stories. It’s human nature, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best strategy for growth. In fact, the only thing a self-centered viewpoint is good for is making us lonely. Not physical loneliness; emotional loneliness that comes from a few main issues: a lack of self-love, expecting the worst for others, and a never-ending chase for happiness…usually through empty material gains.
The problem when we don’t consider the people around us is that we miss out on valuable perspective, and just as importantly, the ability to connect, learn, and teach. When we are aware of the people around us, when we are empathetic to their struggles, something truly magical happens: We find our own internal strength. We realize that our own challenges are part of a wider picture, and that by rising above our own issues, by being truly aware of the people around us, we unlock a better understanding of ourselves. Self-love is tied into the ability to help others. It’s what makes great friends and great teammates. Seek to learn and to teach in equal measure. Just as the people around you have a story, so do you, and yours is unique, at times hard, and always waiting to push you to become more. These are the central messages in The Wizenard Series: Training Camp.
This doesn’t mean you have to be a social butterfly. People can feel when you are open and paying attention to them. If they need more, make yourself vulnerable and share first. Is it easy? Of course not. The most important things usually aren’t. But you have it in you to see the wider picture and become a leader. And, our hope is that The Wizenard Series illuminates these lessons for young readers and encourages them to practice empathy and see beyond their own story in order to be better people, friends, teammates, and eventually adults.
About the Creator and Author of The Wizenard Series: Training Camp
Wesley King is an award-winning author of children’s and YA books. The Wizenard Series: Training Camp is the debut book for NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios and was created by Bryant and written by King. Wesley’s books have accumulated more than ten literary awards and multiple Junior Library Guild Selections and have been optioned for film and television and translated for release worldwide. When he is not writing, Wesley travels extensively around the world and gives workshops and presentations for thousands of students annually. Wesley is also known for his height (6′7″) and his fondness for all things Star Wars and sports.
More about The Wizenard Series: Training Camp: The Wizenard Series is filled with the truths that every young boy growing up today should be told— empathy is critical, team work is essential, seeking mentorship is not optional, and simply, it’s okay for young boys to cry. The Wizenard Series is told from the perspectives of five diverse main characters, teammates on the struggling inner-city basketball team, the West Bottom Badgers. But rather than alternating chapters, each character has their own dedicated novella, sharing their individual challenges, fears, and hopes.
The backdrop takes place over the course of a two-week basketball training camp, where readers get to know each character (Rain, the main character whom Bryant most identifies with, Twig, Cash, Lab and Peño), as they get a new mysterious coach, “Wizenard,” who ultimately builds them into a cohesive, winning unit through unorthodox and supernatural techniques designed to illuminate their innermost selves. As the Badgers slowly start to improve as a team, the boys come to realize that winning, losing, and teamwork are far more than just about athleticism and games.