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The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, illus by Dawud Anyabwile.

July 19, 2020 Comments off

crossoverThe Crossover by Kwame Alexander, illus by Dawud Anyabwile. Pub. Anderson Press, 2020.

This is the most powerful graphic novelĀ  for high school students that I have ever read and it deservedly won the Newbery Medal. It is about basketball and it is about families and all the characters in this novel are black.

JB and Jordan are twins, they are 13 years old and a very gifted basketball players. They live and breathe basketball and they are fans of rap music. Their father was a pro baller and won a championship ring as “da man”, but he is not a well man. Their mother is Principal of the High School the boys attend and both parents are highly involved with boys lives.

The boys compete, the father coaches them and the mother ensures that the boys education takes priority. Then a girl comes on the scene. She is beautiful, wears pink gym shoes and she makes a play for Jordan and they become an item. This upsets JB and the closeness the brothers once had starts to deteriorate to the point that it erupts into a violent act in the middle of a basketball game.

The family is wracked with problems, the boys become enemies and then tragedy. The ending is stunning.

There is lots of basketball talk most of it in rap verse. The book is divided into four quarters and there is a competition going on.

Easy to read with the illustrations superb. I read the book in about an hour and got emotionally involved with what was happening, you will too.

Reluctant boy readers and readers who like sports stories particularly basketball will love this novel. The rap prose is inspiring to as is the relationship between Jordan and the girl. Black Lives matter is also a strong theme of this novel.

Boldprint. Most Valuable Player by Mary Jennifer Payne. Pub.Rubicon, 2010

This is one of a series of graphic novels from Australia that have been produced in consultation with Literacy Consultants and thematically linked to a non fiction title for reluctant readers and readers who may struggle to find to find a novel that suits their needs. The non fiction title that goes with this text is reviewed immediately below this.

Ashley plays for her neighbourhood basketball team and is used as a supersub to break open a game. There are rivalries within the team and some resentment. When Ashley’s mentor is mugged in a rough neighbourhood, some members of her team plan to take revenge on the basketball team from that neighbourhood and coincidentally their next opponents.

Ashley must decide whether to go along with the revenge or stand up against crime in her community.

A great series for reluctant and low vocabulary readers. The stories are good and links to being socially responsible are a plus.

Hoops by Ben Katz & Debbie Nyman. Pub Rubicon, 2010.

This is the non fiction thematic link that looks at the game of basketball giving the rules and terminology of the game. It also looks at current players Yao Ming (the great wall of China) and Lauren Jackson(current Australian player) plus one of the games legends Michael Jordan.

In addition it tells the reader how to prepare for a basketball game and gives the reader a reason to play. It is an enthusiastic look at the game which when used with the graphic novel above is an ideal resource for the classroom teacher of Intermediate and junior high school level.

The pictures and the presentation of facts and other information are excellent.