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Albert Brooks is a high school dropout. His job in a small Harlem grocery store feels like a dead end. Friends are drifting into drug addiction and robbery. Each day Albert's options shrink a little more. His future is growing dimmer—until he walks into Donatelli's Gym. Standing before a short, stocky man with a hard face and knowing eyes, Albert dares to dream. He tells the veteran trainer that he wants to be a boxer, a champion. But before long, he will understand Mr. Donatelli's answer: "It's the climbing that makes the man. Getting to the top is an extra reward." The Contender has appeared on school reading and library lists ever since it was first published. It was chosen as an ALA Notable Children's Book and won a Child Study Association Children's Book Award. Albert's moving story offers a realistic portrait of the young man's struggle to find self-respect and direction in a world of violence, drugs and crime.