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Check It Out: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander


This is Jenn Delperdang with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out.

It’s officially tournament time, and March Madness is upon us. In less time than it would take for you to watch your own bracket get busted, you can read the novel-in-verse that I am recommending today: the Newbery Medal-winning book The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Kwame Alexander believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through various projects and workshops. Fourteen-year-old twins Josh and Jordan Bell are standouts on the basketball court. Their dad is “Da Man”-a former professional basketball player who has been teaching them the game, and his own “Basketball rules” all their lives. Known as “Filthy McNasty” (a nickname his jazz-loving dad gives him because his game is ‘downright dirty’), Josh Bell and his brother have always been teammates and friends. But as their winning season unfolds, things begin to change. Jordan (who goes by J.B.) meets a girl and begins spending all of his free time with her. Josh finds himself alone for the first time—not always productively dealing with his feelings of jealousy and abandonment. Their mom, who is an assistant principal at their junior high school, enlists the boys to help keep an eye on their dad’s health (and love of doughnuts), but their dad isn’t willing to give up the fried foods, mac-n-cheese and sugary sweets or visit a doctor for a checkup. Told from Josh’s perspective, the author mashes up concrete poetry and hip-hop to build a story rich in character and relationships. The poems in the book range from the pulsing, aggressive beats of a basketball game to the more thoughtful adolescent struggles of growing up--and the effect is truly poetry in motion for readers of all ages. It is a story that vibrates with energy and heart and begs to be read aloud. Check out The Crossover and other books by Kwame Alexander at the Sioux City Public Library. 

Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.