Though heavy on message, this will help address the dearth of chapter books featuring children of color positively engaged...

HOME COURT

From the STAT: Standing Tall and Talented series , Vol. 1

NBA star Stoudemire draws on his own childhood and nickname, STAT (Standing Tall and Talented), to pen the first in a series of chapter books that celebrate sports, smarts and friendship.

Amar’e is a bright 11-year-old who loves many different things. He is as at home on his skateboard, working on his jumps, as he is on a basketball court, working on his moves. He is a good student, and he enjoys warm relationships with his older brother and father. Friends want him to participate in their upcoming tournament, but Amar’e is reluctant to commit to one sport, something his father understands. “Son, we both know you’ve got a gift for basketball,” he says. “But your greatest gift is just being you.” When a group of older boys make it impossible to play basketball on a neighborhood court, Amar’e devises a strategy to return the court to open play for the entire community. Working to resolve the conflict helps him understand the lessons of Dr. King. This first in a series of chapter books geared to young males hits all the major points in encouraging boys to read: sports, peer relationships, the value of hard work and family support. The basketball scenes are, not surprisingly, the strength of this serviceable narrative, and Amar’e is a likable protagonist.

Though heavy on message, this will help address the dearth of chapter books featuring children of color positively engaged in the normal adventures of life. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-43169-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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THE CROSSOVER

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)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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