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Gotta Have Heart!


Eight-year-old Ella Riley doesn't like running in PE. The other kids call her Slo-Mo Ella. She's always the last one to finish laps around the track.


But now, with the help of her teacher, Mrs. Rose, Ella's class is putting together a relay race called Running for Rio-all designed to help her younger brother, Rio, who is five years old and who needs surgery to repair his heart. She's grateful for the help and proud of her friends, but how can Slo-Mo Ella possibly join in running relay races? Ella's determined not to quit. With a little bit of help and a lot of hard work and commitment, she's going to do her best for her beloved little brother. Failure isn't an option.


In this children's story, a girl who struggles with running gets involved in a set of relay races to raise funds for her brother's heart surgery and relies on her determination to succeed.

Gotta Have Heart may be purchased at these fine establishments:


"Patti Tanenbaum and Carol Zaslow create a masterful story that is heartfelt in more ways than one. GOTTA HAVE HEART delivers important messages about physical fitness and caring for oneself, others and the community in a delightful story that appeals to children and parents alike. A must-have book for shelves at home, in schools and libraries. The unforgettable characters come to life and inspire children to be their best selves and lead a heart-healthy, happy life."
—Linda Jankowski, former PTA Co-President, El Rodeo School and former Chair, BHUSD Community Service- Learning Committee


"In Gotta Have Heart, Patti Tanenbaum and Carol Zaslow once again show that Little Kids Do BIG Things. This relatable heartfelt story for children of all ages introduces the concept of tapping into something bigger than oneself by giving to others. This story delights while reinforcing the importance of collaboration, caring, kindness and grit. Gotta Have Heart is all heart!"
—Mary Wells, Beverly Hills Unified School District – School Board President


"Health and fitness are probably the most important yet over-looked pillars of our students' education. What makes Gotta Have Heart! wonderful and inspiring is that young Ella Riley shows us not only fun and simple ways we can exercise regularly, but how each of us—whatever our age—can have a positive impact on making society better. A must-read for anyone's character education library."
—Danny Brassell, Ph.D., internationally acclaimed speaker, bestselling author, and co-creator of the


"GOTTA HAVE HEART shows us that by teaching children the values of hard work, goal setting, and perseverance compassionately and encouragingly, they can achieve amazing things. With those lessons learned, a child understands that they can achieve almost anything in life. it doesn't get much better than that!"
—Jay C Scully PTA, RCEP, CSCS. Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist


GOTTA HAVE HEART is such a powerful story involving team and individual problem solving! The kids reinforce so many positive values as they go about raising funds to help children who need heart surgery. The spirit of giving, love, persistence, hard work and caring are visible throughout. This story so warms my heart.
—Beth Perak Ph.D - Early Childhood Reading Specialist.


GOTTA HAVE HEART is an inspiring and heartwarming story that covers so many topics: kindness, health exercise, charity and commitment. It's another great addition the Little Kids Do BIG Things series with valuable lessons and talking points for impressionable kids. In the story, "Slo Mo Ella" sets aside time to help others and in the process helps herself overcome her own initial limiting belief. With encouragement and determination, Ella transforms into an empowered big sister, "If you set your mind to it, all things are possible."
—Celina Duffy - Marketing Executive-Tagline Communications, Educator and Mom


GOTTA HAVE HEART is a beautifully told story about the importance of opening our hearts as well as keeping our hearts healthy and active! Tanenbaum and Zaslow's wonderfully crafted story reminds us of the power of the mind. If we set our mind to something, anything, absolutely anything is possible. GOTTA HAVE HEART hits all the right notes—the power of service to others, taking action for the greater good of others and the all-important confidence and satisfaction that comes from not giving up. GOTTA HAVE HEART has just that—an extraordinary amount of heart! It's a lovely book.
—David Zint-Persia Al Development Coach, SoulCycle Master Instructor, Father


"This is such a powerful story involving team building and individual problem solving. The kids use positive values as they accomplish the task of raising funds to help children who need heart surgery. The spirit of giving, love, persistence, hard work and caring are visible throughout the story."
—Edith A. Buie, MFT

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