Author: Kwame Alexander
Category: Children's
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Harcourt

"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.


Kwame Alexander

Author of the spring, 2014 debut Middle Grade novel in verse for ages 9 – 12

JLG Selection

Newbery Medal Winner

A Coretta Scott King Honor Winner

New York Times Best Seller

An ALA Notable Book

A Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Book


A Top Ten YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers Book

Lone Star List

NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor

YABC Choice Award Nominee

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7
Price: $16.99
CopyrightDate: 2014


"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

“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.”

PW 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. The lively basketball poems in particular beg for energetic oral performance, while the free verse shows the multidimensionality of a teen wordsmith figuring out the shifting conditions of life on and off the court. The book draws additional strength from the portrait of Josh’s father, a strong but flawed role model who’s so haunted by his own father’s early death that he won’t take steps to guard his health. With pithy poems that use basketball as a metaphor for life lessons off the court, two-voiced poems that highlight the ebb and flow of conversations that say too much and nothing at all, and poems inspired by vocabulary words that require extended definitions to tease out their emotional relevance and force, this will inspire budding players and poets alike.

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Starred Review