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A Bike Like Sergio’s by Maribeth Boelts is a rare book. It takes the reader through both the thoughts and feelings of doing something wrong and then making it right. It allows kids to vicariously experience a tempting situation and shows them a path for doing the right thing without ever feeling preachy.

Ruben envies his friend Sergio’s new bike, but he knows his family can’t afford to buy him even a used bike. When a lady drops a dollar at the store, Ruben picks it up… to keep. After all, it’s just a dollar. But it isn’t just a dollar. It’s a 100 dollar bill.

At first, it seems like all of Ruben’s problems are solved. He can buy his own bike now. And, at first, it seems like that’s just what he’ll do. But circumstances work to tug at his conscience. So, when he sees the lady at the store again, he has a chance to do what he should have done all along.

I appreciate how this story doesn’t sugar-coat what it means to do the right thing. Rather, it shows the truth. Doing the right thing doesn’t always lead to what you want. And sometimes it gives you mixed emotions. But it always leaves you feeling better. Ruben experiences his parents’ pride in him for doing the right this as well as pride in himself.

Discussion questions for A Bike Like Sergio’s

  • Even if it was just a dollar, what do you think Ruben should have done? What would you have done?
  • What makes Ruben regret keeping the money?
  • In the end, did Ruben get what he wants?
  • Do you think Ruben will be happy about his choice?
  • Is there another way Ruben might be able to get a bike later?

Have you read A Bike Like Sergio’s? What other books help your kids learn character?

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