Friday, March 26, 2010

March Madness

In honor of the college basketball fever that sweeps the nation every March, this week's Friday Lit Spotlight features a bracket challenge for books and a list of books featuring characters who play ball with the best of them...

School Library Journal thinks that brackets shouldn't just be for sports. They're pitting book against book in a review challenge. Books that received awesome reviews last year are put on brackets and judged by big names in the author-world, like M.T. Anderson, Katherine Patterson, Christopher Paul Curtis and Angela Johnson. To make your predictions or see how the judging shakes out, check out the website here.

And now, to feed your need for more b-ball. Some books:

Game- Walter Dean Myers

Drew Lawson knows basketball is taking him places. It has to, because his grades certainly aren't. But lately his plan has run squarely into a pick. Coach's new offense has made another player a star, and Drew won't let anyone disrespect his game. Just as his team makes the playoffs, Drew must come up with something big to save his fading college prospects. It's all up to Drew to find out just how deep his game really is.

Dairy Queen- Catherine Murdock

When you don"t talk, there"s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can"t help admitting, maybe he"s right. When you don"t talk, there"s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn"t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won"t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league. When you don"t talk, there"s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said. Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

The Hoopster- Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Andre Anderson is a teenager with a bright future. He loves to play basketball. He loves to hang out with his friends. He loves to laugh. Andre has skills, brains, and heart. He also has a dream. Then he is viciously attacked. Now everything he ever believed about the world has been called into question. Even his deadly jump shot. How can a man get up when he has been unjustly beaten down? Andre is about to find out. Andre is The Hoopster.

The Last Shot- John Feinstein

Steven Thomas is one of two lucky winners of the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association's contest for aspiring journalists. His prize? A trip to New Orleans and a coveted press pass for the Final Four. It's a basketball junkie's dream come true!

But the games going on behind the scenes between the coaches, the players, the media, the money-men, and the fans turn out to be even more fiercely competitive than those on the court. Steven and his fellow winner, Susan Carol Anderson, are nosing around the Superdome and overhear what sounds like a threat to throw the championship game. Now they have just 48 hours to figure out who is blackmailing one of MSU's star players . . . and why.

Boost- Kathy Mackel

Thirteen-year-old Savvy is six two and full of raw basketball talent; her three-point shot is deadly. But she's also skinny and gets pushed around on the court. Her older sister, Callie, is a freshman on varsity cheer leading, but she's not quite light enough to be a flier, a coveted position. Both girls need to boost their level of competition to get off the bench and into the action. When steroids are found in Savvy's gym bag, she claims they are not hers. Suddenly, accusations are flying and nobody knows who is telling the truth.
When it comes to competitive sports, no one is exempt from being offered a boost.

Box Out- John Coy

Liam has just been bumped up as a starter on the varsity basketball team, and the pressure's on. When the team's coach starts counting on the power of prayer, Liam feels like an outsider. In trying to stand up for what's right, he is forced to stand up for himself.

Slam Dunk- Donna King

Talented thirteen-year-old Ashlee Carson is the Tribeca Saints' top scoring point guard. Ashlee is smart, too, but her mom worries that basketball is going to get in the way of her bright academic future. Ashlee will do anything for a chance to win a place on the National Youth basketball team -- even if it means defying her mother and enlisting the help of her estranged father, a former professional basketball player. This gripping story, with plenty of drama both on and off the court, will appeal to any young basketball fan.

Dragon Road- Laurence Yep

Best friends Cal and Barney are down and out in Chinatown. In the America of 1939, with no jobs and no real homes, it's only their wizardry with a basketball that's let them survive this long.

That same skill suddenly flings a door open to fame and fortune when a professional basketball team, the Dragons, invites them to join the team.

On that long, difficult road, they must battle rowdy teams and their even rougher fans on makeshift courts. Cal, aka Flash, and the team must also overcome terrible weather, crumbling highways, and their own disintegrating car. As the tour starts to fall apart, the tension between Cal and the team's jealous captain comes to a head. Suddenly Cal must choose between loyalty to his teammates and the pursuit of his own celebrity.

blurbs from BookLetters

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