by Elisabeth Dahl
Published: Amulet Books (April 2, 2013)
Recommended reading age: 8 & up
In a nutshell: I’m 29-years-old and I love blogging. If blogging was around when I was in 5th grade I probably would have been all about it then, too. When I was in 7th grade I created by own zine called Yummy Fiction and Poetry. Lame, I would publish my own poems and poems of other girls may age as well as include book reviews. Lame, I know, but I loved it. You could say I’ve been attracted to editorial work and the art of sharing from a very young age. So, when I first heard of Genie Wishes, a middle grade fiction book about a girl who is chosen to be the class blogger, it caught my attention immediately.
Genie Knuckle is a smart, quiet 10-year-old girl who keeps to herself and enjoys hanging out with her best friend, Sarah. Little does Genie know that with the start of 5th grade, everything is about to change. On the first day of school, new girl Blair arrives with her fashionable outfits, makeup, and boy-crazy attitude. Genie’s intuition is red flags despite who cool Sarah says she is. On the second day, the girl’s homeroom teacher announces that their class is going to be apart of a new class blog program hosted on the school’s website. Both Sarah and Genie’s grandmother persuade her to enter, and to her surprise she wins! The theme for all the class blogs are “Wishes, Hopes, and Dreams”, so Genie and Sarah agree that Genie’s blogger name should be “Genie Wishes”. But when Sarah starts to cling to Blair, Genie slowly starts to fade out of the picture. Genie is also confronted with the social changes going on in her classroom, as well as her peer’s and her own body image (read: puberty). Lucky for Genie, she has a gift with words and channels her confusion or thoughts into blogging, and finds a voice she never knew was there.
5th and 6th grade is a rough age. Its when the growing pains really start to kick in. Some boys start to notice girls and some girls start to notice boys. Some just aren’t there yet. Bodies start changing and confusion is rampant. With all the changes and growth, people change and as a result friendships change. Do you remember that time in your life? I sure do. It sucked. And for that reason, I was so impressed with author Elisabeth Dahl and how she handles these changes going on in Genie’s life. Genie’s experience is universal and I think it would be comforting to readers in that age group going through very similar issues in their own lives. I adored Genie and I have a feeling tweens, especially tween girls, will enjoy her story just as much as I did.
Don’t take my word for it: “If I was a fifth grader now, I know Genie would be a character I would keep close to Margaret [from Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume] in my heart. Both would teach me about growing up and comfort me when I felt lost. Genie Wishes is a beautiful book that belongs in your middle grade classroom libraries.” – review via Katherine Sokolowski featured on The Nerdy Book Club
Extras: Learn more about Genie Wishes and author Elizabeth Dahl, on her website.
Source of book reviewed: Review copy provided by the publisher at ALA Midwinter.
by Blue Balliett
Published: Scholastic Press (March 1, 2013)
Recommended reading age: 8 & up
In a nutshell: The Pearl family may not have much, but they have their books, their stories, and they have each other. Dashel, Summer, Early, and Jubie (Jubellie) Pearl are so close knit they came up with a nickname Dashsumearlyjubie. Father Dashel, also called Dash, is a library page at the Chicago Public Library, Summer takes care of the children and the family’s tiny one room apartment in Chicago’s south side. Older sister Early is just like her father, a lover of words. And little brother Jubie is loud and full of energy like most little brothers. Dashsumearlyjubie have big dreams for the future until the unimaginable happens.
Dash disappears on one cold winter day leaving the family frantic. Their funds are drained from their bank account, and without an income, no extended family to go to, and a startling break-in while the family is home leaves the family no choice but to check into a shelter. Throughout all this commotion, still no sign of Dash. Early suspects there is something more to the project Dash was working on which involved collecting and documenting rare books for the library, so she decides to investigate. After a series of coincidences and with the help of an old friend, slowly the mystery starts to piece itself together.
When I started reading this book, I was really into it. The wordplay, the Langston Hughs references, the mysterious disappearance of Early’s father that was somehow linked to the largest diamond heist known in history – I tore through the pages. But half-way through, I slowly started to lose interest. For me, the plot moved like molasses in the later half until the last 10 pages of the book, and was then wrapped up in a clean package with a bow on it and then it was over. It left me a bit unsatisfied. I did like that the majority of the book took place at a shelter. The life of the homeless is unfathomable, and I think it is important for kids and adults alike to be reminded of those hardships. The format of the book was unique and fun to read. I also enjoyed Early’s character. The hope and strength she possesses despite their situation, especially when her mother starts to give up on Dash or finding a job, and slips into depression. Her character is strong and her voice crystal clear.
Don’t take my word for it: “Another fine offering from Balliett, get this one into the hands of her fans. It will also be great choice for reading aloud in classrooms with its wordplay and strong African-American characters and family.” – review from Waking Brain Cells
Extras: Learn more about author Blue Balliett on her website.
Source of book reviewed: Review copy provided by Scholastic Press.
Out of the Easy
by Ruta Sepetys
Published: Philomel, imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group (February 12, 2013)
Recommended Reading Age: 15 & up
In a nutshell: It’s the 1950′s and the United States is full of ambition. Anything seems possible. Well, anything for almost anyone. Quick witted, recent high school graduate Josie Moraine wants out of the Big Easy. Ever since she arrived to New Orleans with her mother when she was 7-years-old, her mother’s irresponsibility and well-known reputation as a brusque prostitute has left her marked by locals as part of the fallen crowd. Making friends at school was never a possibility, but she does have a few people who care for her. Willie Woodley, the madam at the brothel where her mother works, is quite possibly the closet thing Josie has to a mother figure. Rough around the edges and a straight shooter, Willie is a business-woman with little sympathy or time for nonsense; but she does have a soft spot for Josie, and makes it a point to look after her. There’s also Charlie Marlowe. A few years after moving to New Orleans, Josie’s mother used to have violent fits and beat her, so Josie started hiding out in a bookshop in the Quarter after it closed for the day. The shopkeeper converted a back office into a miniature studio apartment, and in turn Josie stared working for him and became fast friends with his son, Patrick. Josie has high hopes to break free of the social stigmas her mother has cursed her with. She dreams of moving far away from New Orleans to start anew at a prominent college out East.
But it isn’t that easy.
A potential murder is committed in the city her mother is somehow caught up in it, leaving Josie with tough decisions…
Nowadays when I read a book, it’s hard for me not to read it from a parent’s perspective. I fell for this book hard. It’s quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year. I read it within a few days about a week ago, and I am still disturbed by Josie’s mother. Her behavior towards her daughter was hard for me to stomach it was so unnatural. A ball and chain wrapped around Josie’s ankle preventing any forward movement, any progress whatsoever. I couldn’t help but become fully invested in Josie, rooting for her to succeed.
Although each character was full of depth and wonderfully written, Willie Woodley, based on the famous real life madam, Norma Walllace, was by far my favorite personality. She was always a few steps ahead and she always saw people for who they really were. In one of the very first scenes the reader is introduced to Willie and her house on Conti Street; the long red carpet, the green brocades, and the lamps with black crystals dangling from the shades. It was within the very first conversation between Willie, Josie, and Josie’s mother that Willie’s character shines and also lays the precedent of the Josie’s and Willie’s relationship throughout the book.
Colorful characters, a quick paced plot, with a flair for mystery and suspense, you too will find yourself cheering (or questioning) the complex decisions Josie makes in Out of the Easy . It kept me wanting more to the very last line.
Don’t take my word for it: Review from Wrapped Up in Books
Source of book reviewed: Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher provided at ALA Midwinter.
April is National Poetry Month! Exposing children to poetry has a myriad of benefits in creativity and literacy, even at the earliest of ages. You can never start reading poetry too early! To kick things off, I’ve compiled a short list of ways kids (and adults!) can enjoy learning about and engaging in poetry throughout the month.
Tomorrow, 100 Scope Notes will reveal a gallery of Spine Poetry to celebrate the month. Want in on the fun? Email your poems to Travis at scopenotes (at) gmail (dot) com. He’ll be adding spine poems to his gallery throughout the month. Here are Travis’ tips on making your own spine poem. I made the one above on a quiet day at the library last week.
Last year I created a variety of poetry themed storytimes throughout the month of April as a way to introduce different poetry concepts to even the youngest of children. You can read about the books read and the activities created in the following posts: “Poetry is FUN!” Storytime, “Poetry as Story” Storytime, “Poetry in Nature” Storytime, “Poetry is Music” Storytime.
Want to learn about the Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis? Or enjoy children’s poetry videos and articles about children’s poetry? The Poetry Foundation has a variety of resources both kids and adults will enjoy.
Choose your state on the National Poetry Map to find local poets, poems, events, literary journals, writing programs, and poetry organizations via Poets.org.
I’ll be pinning ideas ways in which kids can celebrate on my National Poetry Month board throughout April if you need further inspiration.
How are you planning to celebrate National Poetry Month?
by Edouard Manceau
Published: Owlkids Books (April 9, 2013)
Recommended reading age: 2 & up
In a nutshell: One of my primary goals when selecting storytime books for library storytime is to find books that will inspire creativity, and which can also serve as an excuse for infusing art education into reading. Windblown by Edouard Manceau does just that by prompting shape recognition and collage work at the very basic level.
The story starts with the appearance of a single scrap of paper and a grey circle. With each turn of the page, more shapes appear. The narrator (the wind) asks, “Where did they come from? Whose are they?” Turn the page and a chicken claims them, taking form using the various shapes. Turn the page again and a fish, also illustrated with the shapes, claims they are his. And so with each page turn, different animals appear claiming the tiny scraps of paper as their own. That is until the wind quiets them by blowing the pieces as hard as it can back into a scattered array they were before leaving the reader to make of them what he or she will.
Pretty cool, right? On the back jacketflap of the book there is a web address where the reader can download the shapes featured in the book, giving the reader a chance to answer the wind’s final question, “They’re yours now too. What will you do?” Windblown works as an excellent read-aloud whether it’s with one child or fifty, in a school or library, or at home. Kids will gravitate to the simple, unique format and the way in which the wind addresses the reader, prodding them to make their own creations. It’s a book that doesn’t just end with the story. It opens the door to creativity, play, and art.
Don’t take my word for it: “On its own, Windblown is pretty good. It reaches its full potential, however, when the concept of the book is translated in real life. I hope that happens often. Get your scissors.” -Review from 100 Scope Notes
Stay tuned for my next blog post– I incorporated Windblown into library storytime last Sunday and used this activity as the post-storytime craft. The kids loved it!
Create with Maisy: A Maisy First Arts-and-Crafts Book
by Lucy Cousins
Published: Candlewick (July 10, 2012)
Recommended reading age: 2-8
In a nutshell: It’s almost the end of March, and like many other parts of the country winter is having it’s last hurrah here in northeastern Kansas. Ice and snow and cold and slush, which means lots more time spent cooped up indoors. Recently, we’ve found one way to keep occupied, and with our favorite mouse, no less!
Create with Maisy: A Maisy First Arts-and-Crafts Book is a wonderful collection of crafts for children of toddler age all the way to early elementary school. From constructing houses out of cardboard boxes to making a food garden out of seeds, beans, and uncooked pasta, Maisy takes her reader through very simple simple steps with a short supply list for each of the seventeen crafts outlined in the book. Lucy Cousin’s trademark bright, primary color illustrations and the photograph examples of each craft are friendly and inspiring. I enjoyed how Lucy Cousins opens this book with a message for the grown-ups, emphasizing the fact that “making things is fun.” That if you don’t have all the materials for a craft, just use something else! And always be sure to use safe materials like non-toxic glue and paints.
For you preschool and library-types, Create with Maisy has great ideas for storytime crafts. In fact, I used the vegetable print idea as inspiration for Food Fun Storytime and it was a huge success with the kids.
A wonderful introductory book to arts and crafts, Create with Maisy will keep a child busy for hours, and is a gentle reminder for us grown-ups that it doesn’t take much to create and have fun.
Don’t take my word for it: “This will be a favorite not only with preschoolers but also up to second grade, with children who want to do crafts all on their own. The projects are simple and easily duplicated and changed depending on the materials at hand and the child’s imagination.” -review from Little Jean Library.
Extras: Here’s one of the crafts we made one snowy day…
Source of book reviewed: My local library!
I’m so excited to host this exclusive interview with Jennifer Rush writing as J. V. Kade, author of the action-packed middle grade novel, Bot Wars! You can read my full review of Bot Wars HERE. Jennifer Rush lives in a little town on the shoreline of Lake Michigan with her husband and two children. She spends most of her free time eating ice cream and reading books. Bot Wars is her first middle grade novel.
Bot Wars Synopsis from Goodreads: “Twelve-year-old Trout St. Kroix has been searching for his missing father for the last two years, after his dad disappeared while fighting in the Bot Wars. The Bot Wars began after robots became so advanced that they revolted and demanded more workers’ rights, causing the government to declare all robots terrorists and ban them from the Districts. Trout never questioned anything the government told him–even when his own nanny bot was banished–until a vid he posts about his missing dad goes viral and new information pops up. At first Trout is wrenched his dad might be alive, but when his brother disappears, Trout learns nothing is what it seems . . . not even his own father.”
The world that Bot Wars takes place in is very different from the world we know. Yet the characters, like the main character Trout, are relatable to today’s reader. Why did you feel it was important to keep the characters so fundamentally similar to today’s reader, yet make the dynamic of the future world so different from what we know today?
JR: I wanted readers to feel like the characters could be them! Or someone they know. To make it easier to see themselves in the story. As a kid, that’s why I read. I wanted to put myself in the shoes of the main character. The princess gets the prince, and all that! But with Bot Wars, I wanted the world around them to, at times, feel like magic. That’s what the future is to me—magic. There are so many things still yet to discover. Inventions still yet to be invented. I just wanted to have fun coming up with a world that could potentially come true, yet still feel like an adventure!
Where did the inspiration for Bot Wars come from? How did you balance between present and future when writing?
JR: Bot Wars started with Trout. His voice came to me fully formed. The first paragraph of Bot Wars is what I first wrote, and for the most part, it’s exactly the same as it was when I wrote it. I think maybe one sentence was added. The story really started with Trout and his older brother Po who lost his leg in the Robot Wars. Usually all my stories start with the characters. They are the most important part for me.
You use analogies between the Bot War and the Civil War. Why did you feel that part of our history should be included in your fictional future? And what is the message that holds within Bot Wars?
JR: I tried to insert a few things readers might recognize, like the Civil War, to keep the story relatable. But, more than that, the Civil War, like the Robot War, was a war about freedom. I don’t want to get too much further into the parallels, for fear of spoilers! I will say this: Trout begins the story with the belief that robots are bad. But are they? Did they really start the Robot Wars?
You’re first books were both published within months of each other; Altered (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, January 2013) and Bot Wars (Dial, March, 2013), one young adult fiction and one middle grade fiction. What’s is like writing two distinctly different books regarding reader maturity level?
JR: I know some people outside of the industry believe that a writer has to “dumb down” their work when they write for children. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Kids are smart! Really, the only difference between YA and MG that I’ve found is that you just have to have a little more fun with MG. Insert a little humor! Kids love to laugh. As they should! I also tried to make the themes of Bot Wars revolve more around family. When you’re that age, your family is more important than almost anything else in the world. You haven’t gone out on your own yet. You don’t have the budding independence of a teenager, or the total freedom of a college student. It starts with family.
I’m always curious what other families are reading. What are your kids’ all-time favorite books? What are they currently reading?
JR: My son, who is nearly fourteen, loves the Dragonbreath series, and the Wolves of the Beyond series, but he also devours manga. My daughter, who is four, loves the funny picture books. Like No, David, and Dragons Love Tacos.
What books did you most enjoy reading as a child?
JR: I loved ALL vampire fiction. Like Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire series. And L. J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries. I devoured almost all of Christopher Pike’s work, though. But more than that, I really gravitated toward strong female characters.
I understand you’re not only a writer, but quite the photographer and have your own photography company. How did you get into photography?
JR: I upgraded my camera because I wanted to take better pictures of my kids. I’d always been into photography, but never took the time to learn about it. When I got my new camera, I figured I better teach myself how to use it properly, otherwise the investment would be for nothing. So I did. I taught myself how to use my camera in manual mode, which is the only way to use it, in my opinion! You get the most out of it that way. From there, I just fell in love. It was like the world opened up around me. Pictures are powerful.
Do you have a picture or two you’d like to share with us? Where and when did you take them?
JR: The first one is of my daughter! She’s my muse. And I’m not saying this because she’s my daughter (I hope?) but the girl is photogenic. She can’t take a bad picture. It makes my job easy. This picture was taken in a tiny field off a busy street. It says so much about her. About how adventurous she is! But how bright of a personality she is, like the red of her coat against the subtle yellow/brown of the field grass.
JR: The second picture I took in Arlington Cemetery. We took a family vacation to Washington D. C. last September. The kids were with my mother-in-law at the time, so it was just my husband and I. We were on our way home when we were driving past the cemetery and I said, “Can we stop please? I don’t want to leave DC without seeing Arlington Cemetery!” So we pulled off the freeway and went in, but it was late. They were closing soon. The sun was setting! I knew I wanted the sunlight in the background. So, as soon as I entered the cemetery, I ran. I ran and ran and ran all the way back to the farthest part of the cemetery, trying to catch the light. And I did. For a short few minutes, the light blazed over the treetops and the gravestones and it was perfect.
Publishing two books in less than three months is quite an accomplishment for a first time author. What advice do you have for budding writers?
JR: Write. Read. Read some more! Know the industry before you start submitting. Knowing where to submit, and who to submit to is half the battle. And did I say read? Reading is one of the most important things for a writer. Read your favorite authors and take notes.
To wrap things up, I thought it might be fun to share a few tibits about yourself with your readers….
Five things you didn’t know about Jennifer Rush:
1. Can’t live without: A comfy sweater
2. Favorite place to read is: in my big comfy chair!
3. Most influential person/people: I’m picking two. Cheater! Hatshepsut and Cleopatra
4. Favorite word: Champion
5. Hidden talent: I can fold fitted bed sheets like nobody’s business
by J.V. Kade
Published: Dial Books for Young Readers, imprint of Penguin Young Readers (March 21, 2013)
Recommended reading age: 10 & up
In a nutshell: Action, adventure, and a new author to put on your radar. Bot Wars by J.V. Kade, pen name for Jennifer Rush, is a futuristic, dystopian read, with robots and techie gadgets that would make anyone wish for a fast forward button to the future just to experience the world created in this wild ride of a read.
Just make sure you remember to breathe. It’s a full-out action sprint.
It’s been two years since the Robot Wars, and twelve-year-old Trout St.Kroix’s dad, a solider, is still missing. His “heart thread”, a tracking device chip that everyone has implanted in their heart, has been “offline” since the war ended. Bots used to be everywhere; Trout even had one as a nanny when he was young. Now they are feared and labeled as dangerous. Trout’s teenage brother Po lost his leg to Deeta disease, a byproduct of serving in the war. Trout likes to hide Po’s prosthetic leg just for kicks until Po threatens to take away Trout’s Net-tag, a keycard that gives him access to the Network (read video games), something no preteen boy could survive without.
In an attempt to locate his dad, Trout devises the long-shot plan of sending a vid viral on the Net in the hope that someone has information. It works. When Po learns what Trout did, he is furious – and for reasons he won’t share with Trout. Po orders the vid be removed, but it is too late. Still angry with his brother for the unshared secrets, the next day Trout receives a call from Po which says only one thing, “RUN!” In a frantic escape, Trout finds himself forced to choose between two paths; surrender to government patrolmen, or take the help of a robot he was taught to distrust more than anything else.
And that’s only the first quarter of the story! Any down time for Trout is few and far between. The futuristic lingo and phrases like “All geared out” or “Totally wrenched” are quick to pick up on, as well as the techie terminology. One of the most enjoyable elements of the story was all the different gadgetry, such as cars that can auto drive, links (modern cell phones), and my personal favorite, hoverboards (think skateboards, but they can fly). I tend not to gravitate towards science fiction. Realistic fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy are my go-to reads, but this book has me reconsidering a new reading life in sci-fi. Bot Wars completely won me over. Craftily written, relatable characters, and a clever, truly original storyline; I couldn’t put it down.
Middle grade readers who enjoy a heavy dose of action in their reading will, without a doubt, find themselves absorbed in this page-turner. The only problem readers will have is knowing they’ll have have to wait a whole year for the second edition to the series to come out in March 2014.
Don’t take my word for it: “This is an action-packed, cleverly imagined middle grade book with strong boy appeal. Hand this off to those who want futuristic books, those who love science-fiction, and those who would like reading a book about a boy who won’t give up hope.” -review from Heise Reads & Recommends.
Extras: Bot Wars map of the United Districts of America:
Visit J.V. Kade on her website.
Source of book reviewed: Advanced reader copy provided by the author.
Please be sure to check back here TOMORROW for an exclusive author interview with J.V. Kade a.k.a. Jennifer Rush, the mastermind behind Bot Wars!
by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 2, 2013)
Recommended reading age: 3 & up
In a nutshell: Did you used to run up the basement stairs after shutting off the light? Hide under the covers when you heard creaks in the middle of the night? Do you still? For those who’s nerves are tested when the sun goes down the notorious Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler’s pseudonym), and Caldecott winning illustrator Jon Klassen, have teamed up for a picture book about The Dark.
Laszlo is afraid of the dark. It hides in the closet, behind the shower curtain, and spends most of it’s time in the basement. But at night it is everywhere. Laszlo would go visit and talk to the dark during the day, hoping this would help it steer clear of visiting his bedroom at night. That is, until one night when his nightlight inexplicably goes out at, and the dark comes to his room. And it talks back. Creepy! Well, just a wee bit creepy. The reader follows Laszlo through his house, flashlight in hand, exploring the usual dark hangouts as the dark persuades him to enter the basement. In the darkness of the basement, he finds an unexpected surprise which will reassure readers that the dark might not be so bad after all.
As someone who is still timid of the dark, I know all too well of the anxiety that comes with turning the lights off. Like most children, the fear is terrifying and plays tricks on your senses. The Dark takes into account these fears and curiosities most children (and some adults) have when it comes to the things that go bump in the night, the complete unknown, and uses that fear to shed light on what the dark really is. Dark is the house that keeps you warm. Dark is the nighttime sky looking down from above when you look up at the stars. Day and night, light and dark are elements of life. Without one the other wouldn’t exist. Laszlo is much braver than I would have ever been. The child version of me would have been riddled with fear and stayed under my covers until dawn. It is reassuring that he was more interested in the dark than afraid. It is a good lesson for readers to test their fears and not to be so distressed by the unknown.
Now, let’s take a minute to talk about the talent that is Jon Klassen. Jon Klassen’s warm hues during the daytime and sharp, geometric contrasting illustrations during the Laszlo’s adventure during the nighttime are mesmerizing. I couldn’t imagine a better companion to Lemony Snicket’s pitch-perfect prose.
Take a gander…
Children and adults will be won over by this eerie, spectacular book. For those who cringe at the thought of basements and dark places, they may learn that there really isn’t anything to be afraid of and might even take comfort in The Dark.
Don’t take my word for it: Review from Fuse 8 Production.
Website and blog home for Jon Klassen
Helpful tips on how kids can overcome their fears of the dark.
Source of book reviewed: Galley provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Hoop Genius: how a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball
by John Coy, illustrated by Joe Morse
Published: Carolrhoda Books (January 1, 2013)
Recommended reading age: 5 & up
In a nutshell: Today is Selection Sunday, the official kick-off of the March Madness basketball craze. It’s an exciting time of the year for all ages and also an excellent opportunity to think back on when it all began. Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball is a look inside the very early beginnings of basketball, featuring it’s inventor, James Naismith.
In 1891, James Naismith took over teaching a very rowdy gym glass that had forced previous instructors to quit. To engage the class who was bored by calisthenic activities, he tried his hand at getting them to play indoor football, soccer, and lacrosse with no success. Naismith almost gave up, but he then imagined a game he used to play when he was a boy and how it could be modified so that it was an active game off the ground with two goals. Using two peach baskets and a soccer ball, the classes’ attention was demanded. They couldn’t get enough of Naismith’s new game, and so the evolution of basketball was set into motion.
Around Lawrence, Kansas, most kids grow up learning who James Naismith was not because he is the inventor of basketball, but because he was the founder of University of Kansas basketball. So, I’m fairly confident that this book will be hit around town, but I also see it’s appeal extending beyond basketball and sports fans. James Naismith’s story is about innovation. Taking a problem that no one else wants to deal with, being determined, and brainstorming a solution – a solution that ends up fostering enthusiasm within his gym class, and today has turned into one of the most celebrated athletic games of all time. The story is fairly short with a message all young readers will enjoy, and illustrations that are sure to capture attention.
My favorite pagespread is the last… Obviously because it is a nod to James Naismith’s heritage at KU with the basketball players in their Jayhawk crimson and blue. Nicely done, Joe Morse. Very nicely done.
Don’t take my word for it: review from 100 Scope Notes
If you’re in the Lawrence area, Watkins Museum Community Museum of History has an excellent exhibit More Than A Game: Basketball and Community
You can also learn more about James Naismith from the Kansas Historical Foundation.
Interesting tidbit: To this day, James Naismith was the only KU basketball coach ever to have a losing record. (via Visit Lawrence).
Source of book reviewed: My local library!