Author: Kwame Alexander
Publisher: Harcout Brace and Company
Publication Date: January 1st, 2014
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel-In-Verse
GoodReads Summary: "With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
What I Think: Next week the 2016 award winners of the ALA media awards will be announced. I'll wait and watch in excitement to see who receives these honors this year. It's taken me almost a whole year to read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander despite it winning the Newbery Award last year. I'm just me, but I'm here to say it is truly deserving.
Kwame has a way with poetry. I love how he puts words together, where he chooses to put breaks in a line, how he changes the font or the font size and places words on the page. I'm such a fan of novels in verse already but I'm glad to see more and more of this format for young readers.
What I found most unique about this story was how different stories are woven in. Our main character clearly cares about basketball and his family. I love the dynamic between him and his twin brother and also between him and his parents. Before I knew it, I was in love with this family - how they believe in each other and support each other.
As soon as I finished this book I asked if I could do a booktalk with a group of 8th graders I've visited before. I was excited to share the book because I loved it so much but also because I know it's going to be a book eighth grade boys are going to be likely to pick up but that will also be a great read. For me, it's a slam dunk.
Read Together: Grades 5 - 8
Read Alone: Grades 5 - 12
Read With: Shakespeare Bats Clean Up by Ron Koertge, Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick, Fat Boy Vs. The Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach
Snatch of Text:
Basketball Rule #1
In this game of life
your family is the court
and the ball is your heart.
No matter how good you are,
no matter how down you get,
on the court.
Topics Covered: Family, Siblings, Friendship, Loyalty, Determination, Integration - Physical Education, Sports, Dedication, Courage
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