The Crossover

by Kwame Alexander

Josh Bell is a talented middle school basketball player, as is his twin brother Jordan.... read more

Josh Bell is a talented middle school basketball player, as is his twin brother Jordan. They learned from their dad, Chuck “Da Man,” who played in the Euroleague before retiring from the game. When Jordan gets a girlfriend, Josh resents that his twin no longer does as much with him, and he takes his frustration out on the court during a game one day, almost breaking Jordan’s nose. It creates a huge rift between the boys and gets Josh banned from playing. The tension between the brothers is wonderfully portrayed within the greater dynamic of their African American family. Meanwhile, their mom, principal of the boys’ middle school, is also worried about their doctor-averse dad’s health. This element of the plot builds to a moment readers can see coming when their dad has a heart attack, yet it’s shocking when he dies. Kwame Alexander’s narrative has two styles — straightforward prose poems and vibrant, rap-like poems in which Josh describes the basketball action. Josh also likes language and occasional poems have Josh exploring the meaning of specific words that connect to what’s happening in his life. Josh’s voice is vivid, funny, and moving in this fast-paced and poignant story. (Ages 10–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2015

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