Crossover, The

Kwame Alexander
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013).    Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-01-26

Felt like rap more than even poetry.

Reviewed: 2016-11-25
The description of this didn't sound appealing to me at all, but I loved it once I got started. It's very, very good!
Reviewed: 2016-11-06

The Crossover is a novel told in verse about twin brothers Josh and Jordan, who play basketball at rival colleges.  However, this book is more than just a book about basketball.  What is most interesting is the family dynamic that evolves throughout the book.  Having a brother close in age, I found myself connecting with many situations in the book, especially the competitiveness between the brothers.  The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for this moving story.

 

This novel is great to teach about characters.  Students could visualize each of the main characters and discuss how they look, talk, and act.  Students could work together to draw character sketches or find web images that look like the characters.  It would be beneficial to compare and contrast Jordan (JB) and Josh as identical twins.  The book is also broken into six sections.  At the end of each section, students could talk about the main characters and what they are learning about JB and Josh though each section.  Students could also consider the similarities with sports and segments of a basketball game, for those who have background knowledge of the sport.  Finally, nicknames are an important part of this text and help the reader relate to the characters.  Students could talk about the nicknames they have or want and why a person gets a nickname.  Then could then analyze when it is positive and fun to have a nickname and when it is embarrassing or uncomfortable.

Reviewed: 2016-10-24

I really liked this books because it was different not only in its format of writing in verse, but also because it kept me on the edge of my seat as to what was going to happen next. Was josh going to get the girl? Was his brother going to continue his interest in the sport? In his brother? Would the brother, JB, regret the decisions he was making as things within his family began escalating? How far would they escalate? I wanted the book to keep going into the young men's lives as I was curious how they would play out with all of the variable that kept being thrown at them. I loved when josh said at one point in the book that his coach told him "you can get used to things going well, but you're never prepared when they go wrong" and I thought that was beautiful and a great preface to the direction the story was moving in. The end made me sad, but it's ok because I saw it coming towards the end. This book is definitely for mature students as it deals with life, death, growing up, and making the "crossover" from childhood to adulthood with the inevitable events of the world around us.

I would use it as a class book that I read with them and can talk through it together for older grades (5-6). Otherwise I would use it for gifted students in lower grades who are looking for something more on their mental and reading sophistication level. Definitely would recommend especially for anyone into sports or who grew up around sports!

Reviewed: 2016-10-22

Awesome book! Written like a Hip Hop rap song. This would be a great way to sell it instead of just saying it's written like poetry.

It is written in verse which makes it a very smooth, easy read.  It's a mix of hip hop, basketball and poetry. It's an easy sell to Middle Schoolers.  I think this is an easy sell to any anthlete, male or female. It is nice to see the main characters are African American brothers who strive for greatness. It is very realistic for any middle school student who is struggling to juggle all that life throws at them at this time...academics, family, girls, brotherhood, and sports. Who can't relate to one of those, if not all, at some point in their childhood? How do Josh and Jb prioritize? What comes first? Do priorities change if tragedy strikes?

And guess what? It won the Coretta Scott King Award and the Newberry Medal.  

It could also be used as an excellent way to kick off a poetry unit to upper elementary students. If you leave off the couple instances where the reader infers why the parents go silent after arguments. 

 

 

 

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