Staying in with Bruce Bernstein

You Gotta Have Heart

One of the reasons I got in to blogging was because I used to review KS3 fiction for Hodder and write teacher resources to go with the books. Consequently, I always have an eye out for books aimed at middle grade readers, especially if I think they may appeal to boys. With that in mind, I had to invite Bruce Bernstein onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me about one of his books.

Staying in with Bruce Bernstein

Welcome along to Linda’s Book Bag Bruce. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

You Gotta Have Heart

My book is called You Gotta Have Heart. It’s my first novel. The book is a middle grade novel about an orphaned  kid growing up in New York City. I think kids and adults will enjoy reading the book.

(I like the sound of a book that can be shared by adults and children alike Bruce.)

What can we expect from an evening in with You Gotta Have Heart?

I think reading the book will give readers an appreciation of New York City and hopefully provide them with a look at the benefits of training in the martial arts. But I think the book is a lot more than just that.

(Well, having worked in New York City I’d be quite happy to be transported back there.)

Here’s a brief extract:

“When you get knocked down, you just keep getting back up. …You never give up.” Sensei paused for a moment and spoke louder. “That’s what takes real guts.” He stared at Alan intently. “You know, sometimes failures are your steppingstones to success.”

(This is so appealing Bruce because I worked in New York Schools across areas like The Bronx and I can see how relevant You Gotta Have Heart is.)

Here is one of the reviews of the book:

“…You Gotta Have Heart, has it all. …The plot, which follows a young orphaned boy as he comes of age, is inspiring, moving and unforgettable. …You Gotta Have Heart is most highly recommended.”- Readers’ Favorite

(Smashing praise.)

What else have you brought along and why?

I brought positivity. I wanted to write something that was realistic and inspiring. The book is largely based on my many years of experience studying martial arts and my knowledge of New York City.

I love the sound of You Gotta Have Heart Bruce. Thanks so much for introducing it to readers through staying in with me.

You Gotta Have Heart

You Gotta Have Heart

Orphaned at a young age, all Alan Michaels wants is a place to belong. But the independent, street–smart kid, who lacks self-confidence, has no clue how to deal with disappointment – or a formidable bully who won’t back down. And New York City is a tough town to grow up in if you are a kid who doesn’t have much. But when he starts training at Sensei Hideki’s School of Karate, he hopes his life will change forever.

Determined to prove he’s got what it takes to become a true warrior, he pushes his body and mind to the limit. But just when the karate school starts to feel like home, tragedy strikes again. Does Alan have the courage and inner strength to overcome the odds stacked against him?

You Gotta Have Heart is available for purchase here.

About Bruce Bernstein


Bruce Bernstein is a fourth degree black belt in karate with extensive training in the martial arts. Before recently retiring, he had a solo law practice dedicated to protecting the rights of employees while working part-time as an administrative law judge in New York City. Bruce is a life long resident of New York City who also happens to be a licensed New York City tour guide. Like Alan Michaels, the hero of You Gotta Have Heart, Bruce also knows a lot about Central Park and New York City.

You can find out more on Bruce’s website.

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