Award Winning Sports Book

I couldn’t post a week of sports books and neglect to include  the 2015 Newbery winner, The Crossover.  It was the first time in a while that a book I really enjoyed won that prestigious award.  While my daughter is a huge fan of  Alexander’s other story, Booked, because it focuses on her passion for soccer, this story is equally as compelling for kids who have the basketball bug.

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Title: The Crossover2p_THE CROSSOVER jacket.indd

Author: Kwame Alexander

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about:
Told in verse, this book is about twin brothers who are in middle school. They are basketball stars, but with a father who used to play professional basketball, this is no surprise. Their mother, however, is the assistant principal, so academics are equally important in this household. The family dynamics, the relationship between the brothers and the action on the court dominate this story.

Why I love this book:

  • A book told in verse can be an unusual delivery choice for a story. Kids are not typically drawn to poetry, so a whole story can be a harder sell. But this story is told in a more rap/jazz verse so the flow does not feel rhyming, the imagery is fresh and the story moves along well.
  • This book absolutely surprised me in the best way. While I didn’t always understand all the basketball references (it is not our family sport … we are really slow) I still felt the suspense of the games as they worked towards a state championship. The family relationships and the brothers struggles were touching.
  • I always enjoy when stories feature characters with different ethnicities. In this book the characters are African American, but their family and struggles were that of a family of any ethnicity.

Who this book is for:
This is the hardest part for me. This book has the excitement of basketball which is great for sports loving kids, but it is also a tender story of family, so kids have to be able to handle the “touchy feely” parts as well. The verse component can be a perceived challenge for some kids, but the story itself reads quickly in this format, so it is actually a great vehicle for reluctant readers who will not be intimidated by the size of the text or the length of the chapters.

Final thoughts:
The Crossover is a wonderful book that combines a love of basketball with strong family dynamics and a moving story.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Crossover A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.