Hoops by Walter Dean Myers
ISBN-13: 978-0440938842
Laurel Leaf, New York, 1981
192 p.

GENRE: Sports Fiction

TEASER: Can seventeen-year-old Lonnie’s coach keep him from making the same mistakes that he made?

SUMMARY: All Lonnie cares about is the playing ball. He is practicing for a citywide basketball Tournament of Champions. This game very game could change Lonnie’s life forever. His coach Cal, former NBA pro player, thinks that he has what it takes to go pro. But Cal also knows all of the pitfalls that can take you down along the way. He tries to guide Lonnie to make the right decisions. However, Cal isn’t known for making the right decisions himself. Lonnie hears of some bettors are pressuring Cal to keep Lonnie on the bench so that they lose the game.

CRITIQUE: The book is told through the eyes of Lonnie in first-person perspective. The language might be a tad confusing because it was written in 1970s Harlem. I am not a huge sports fan so there were parts of this book that lost me. Other than that, I enjoyed this book. I appreciated the flawed relationship between Lonnie and Cal. Sports fans will appreciate Myers detailed and action filled sports writing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Walter Dean Myers is an African American author who grew up in Harlem. He is a playwright, novelist, poet, musician, and collector or of memorabilia. He is passionate about basketball. He dropped out of high school and joined the army at the age of seventeen.
He has written over fifty books. Some of his other titles include: Monster, Shooter, Fallen Angels, Crystal, Game, and Street Love. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including two Coretta Scott King Awards, two Newbury Honors, two National Book Award Finalist, the first winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, and a Margaret A. Edwards award for his contribution to the genre.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://www.walterdeanmyers.net/index.html

READING LEVEL: 12+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: This book has been challenged for derogatory language, profanity, and sexual content.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: N/A

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Discuss the pressure on athletes to succeed. How does the game of basketball relate to the game Lonnie is forced to play in the real world?

WHY INCLUDED: I felt it was important to include a sports book.

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