…Kwame Alexander's beautifully measured novel…is written in verse, but have no fear: Here, poetry is in service to the interior and exterior worlds of Josh, who plays forward to JB's shooting guard…Basketball is the novel's red-hot engine. It is the glue connecting the sons and source of the wisdom their father passes down…The biggest surprise of The Crossover is that, for all the bells and whistles of a young man's game, it is most boldly and certainly a book about tenderness.
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Josh Bell, known on and off the court by the nickname Filthy McNasty, doesn’t lack self-confidence, but neither does he lack the skills to back up his own mental in-game commentary: “I rise like a Learjet—/ seventh-graders aren’t supposed to dunk./ But guess what?/ I snatch the ball out of the air and/ SLAM!/ YAM! IN YOUR MUG!” Josh is sure that he and his twin brother, JB, are going pro, following in the footsteps of their father, who played professional ball in Europe. But Alexander (He Said, She Said) drops hints that Josh’s trajectory may be headed back toward Earth: his relationship with JB is strained by a new girl at school, and the boys’ father health is in increasingly shaky territory. The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh’s sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worthy triumph to profound pain. This verse novel delivers a real emotional punch before the final buzzer. Ages 9–12. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (Mar.)
2015 Newbery Medal Winner 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner * "This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. . . . Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch." —Kirkus, starred review * "Alexander fully captures Josh's athletic finesse and coming-of-age angst in a mix of free verse and hip-hop poetry that will have broad appeal. . . . This will inspire budding players and poets alike." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review * "The poems dodge and weave with the speed of a point guard driving for the basket, mixing basketball action with vocabulary-themed poems, newspaper clippings, and Josh's sincere first-person accounts that swing from moments of swagger-worth triumph to profound pain." —Publishers Weekly, starred review * "Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heat and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk." —School Library Journal, starred review "Concrete poems that simulate on-court action, the novel's organization into "four quarters" (plus "warm-up" and "overtime") and a smattering of their father's 10 rules of basketballas applicable to life as they are to the gamewill draw in less avid readers, and the fully-fleshed characters and Josh's spellbinding wordplay will keep all readers riveted to find out if the brothers can mend the breach in their once iron-clad bond" —Shelf Awareness "An accomplished author and poet, Alexander eloquently mashes up concrete poetry, hip-hop, a love of jazz, and a thriving family bond. The effect is poetry in motion." —Booklist "The Crossover is destined to reach—and touch—readers who never gave basketball or poetry a second thought until now. It’s tough, muscular writing about a tender, unguarded heart." —BookPage "[Alexander]'s at the top of his poetic game in this taut, complex tale of the crossover from brash, vulnerable boy to young adult." —Washington Post "Since poet Alexander has the swagger and cool confidence of a star player and the finesse of a perfectly in-control ball-handler, wordplay and alliteration roll out like hip-hop lyrics, and the use of the concrete forms and playful font changes keep things dynamic." —Horn Book Magazine "Kwame Alexander’s sizzling, heartfelt story-in-verse gives readers that rich sense of SWISH! we feel when a basketball drops perfectly through a net. Quick timing, snazzy cadence, a wealth of energy and deep affection for sports, family and life in general – it’s all here, in these gripping scenes." —Naomi Shihab Nye, National Book Award Finalist “The characters of Kwame Alexander's verse-novel entered my heart, as it showed the many ways in which the basketball, the truth, love, and life cross over and between us.” —Marilyn Nelson, Newbery Honor winning author "The Crossover is a masterful mix of rhythm and heart that tells the story of two brothers navigating the deep waters of love, loyalty, and championship play. Alexander’s verse is fluid and electric, poignant and wise, skillfully chronicling main character Josh’s tough lessons as he comes to realize that “true champions / learn / to dance /
Gr 6–10—Twins Josh and Jordan are junior high basketball stars, thanks in large part to the coaching of their dad, a former professional baller who was forced to quit playing for health reasons, and the firm, but loving support of their assistant-principal mom. Josh, better known as Filthy McNasty, earned his nickname for his enviable skills on the court: "…when Filthy gets hot/He has a SLAMMERIFIC SHOT." In this novel in verse, the brothers begin moving apart from each other for the first time. Jordan starts dating the "pulchritudinous" Miss Sweet Tea, and Josh has a tough time keeping his jealousy and feelings of abandonment in control. Alexander's poems vary from the pulsing, aggressive beats of a basketball game ("My shot is F L O W I N G, Flying, fluttering…. ringaling and SWINGALING/Swish. Game/over") to the more introspective musings of a child struggling into adolescence ("Sit beside JB at dinner. He moves./Tell him a joke. He doesn't even smile….Say I'm sorry/but he won't listen"). Despite his immaturity, Josh is a likable, funny, and authentic character. Underscoring the sports and the fraternal tension is a portrait of a family that truly loves and supports one another. Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heart and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal.
Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives. Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story. Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)
|Publisher:||Recorded Books, LLC|
|Age Range:||8 - 11 Years|
- 2011-2020 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books
- 2015 Newbery Medal Winner
- 2015 Texas Lone Star Reading List
- African Americans - Kids Fiction
- Family Life - Kids Fiction
- General & Miscellaneous Kids Poetry
- Publishers Weekly's Best Middle Grade Books of 2014
- Sports & Recreation - Kids Fiction
- U. S. People, Places & Cultures - Kids Fiction
Read an Excerpt
At the top of the key, I’m
MOVING & GROOVING,
POPping and ROCKING—
Why you BUMPING?
Why you LOCKING?
Man, take this THUMPING.
Be careful though,
’cause now I’m CRUNKing
and my dipping will leave you
G on the floor, while I
to the finish with a fierce finger roll . . .
Straight in the hole:
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame.
Folks call me that
’cause my game’s acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame. My hair is long, my height’s tall.
See, I’m the next Kevin Durant,
LeBron, and Chris Paul.
Remember the greats,
my dad likes to gloat:
I balled with Magic and the Goat.
But tricks are for kids, I reply.
Don’t need your pets
my game’s so
Your dad’s old school,
like an ol’ Chevette.
You’re fresh and new,
like a red Corvette.
Your game so sweet, it’s a crêpes suzette.
Each time you play
it’s ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL net.
If anyone else called me
fresh and sweet,
I’d burn mad as a flame.
But I know she’s only talking about my game.
See, when I play ball,
I’m on fire. When I shoot, I inspire.
The hoop’s for sale, and I’m the buyer.
How I Got My Nickname
I’m not that big on jazz music, but Dad is.
One day we were listening to a CD
of a musician named Horace Silver, and Dad says,
Josh, this cat is the real deal.
Listen to that piano, fast and free,
Just like you and JB on the court.
It’s okay, I guess, Dad.
Okay? DID YOU SAY OKAY?
Boy, you better recognize
greatness when you hear it.
Horace Silver is one of the hippest.
If you shoot half as good as he jams—
Dad, no one says “hippest” anymore.
Well, they ought to, ’cause this cat
is so hip, when he sits down he’s still standing, he says.
Real funny, Dad.
You know what, Josh?
I’m dedicating this next song to you.
What’s the next song?
Only the best song,
the funkiest song
on Silver’s Paris Blues album:
I didn’t like the name
because so many kids made fun of me
on the school bus,
at lunch, in the bathroom.
Even Mom had jokes.
It fits you perfectly, Josh, she said:
You never clean your closet, and
that bed of yours is always filled
with cookie crumbs and candy wrappers.
It’s just plain nasty, son.
But, as I got older
and started getting game,
the name took on a new meaning.
And even though I wasn’t into
all that jazz,
every time I’d score,
or steal a ball,
Dad would jump up
smiling and screamin’,
That’s my boy out there.
Keep it funky, Filthy!
And that made me fee
about my nickname.