A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that author and poet Kwame Alexander's The Crossover is a poignant novel in verse that mixes basketball, family, and coming-of-age themes and includes serious issues regarding adult health and a parent's life-threatening condition. It won the 2015 Newbery Medal and a Coretta Scott King Book Honor, and may inspire a discussion about healthy lifestyle choices and the impact of those choices on people and their loved ones. There's mild name-calling when characters are in the throes of sports-related trash-talking, and sexual content is limited to middle-school crushes and a kiss. The novel offers a positive example of a loving, intact family with active, involved parents and uses adult characters to provide a guiding influence. There's an audiobook version narrated by Corey Allen.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Josh and his twin brother, JB, are inseparable, on and off the court. With the support of their father, a famous basketball player, they're poised to have a great season, maybe even win the championship for their junior high. Then things start to change. JB starts to spend more time with girls than with Josh, their dad is hiding a health issue that could change all of their lives, and Josh begins to lose his way. One big mistake, and he's suspended from the team, estranged from his brother, and wondering how much time he has left with the brightest star in his world: his father.
Is it any good?
Wow -- Kwame Alexander's THE CROSSOVER is a fast-moving, poignant, rhythmic ride that will leave readers breathless and in tears. Written in verse that's at times boundless and at other times masterfully restrained, it could have been just another ode to urban life, the world of sports, and teenage basketball phenoms. Instead, readers realize within a few pages that they're in for much more. Alexander tells the stories that need to be told: intact families of people who care for one another more than they care for the game, strong role models who support their children's dreams, and the realities faced by a young person growing up in today's world.
Readers will fall in love with the characters, feeling the ache of loneliness, the heavy weight of worry, and the joy of family fun. Parents will love the opportunities the book presents for positive, deep discussions, as well as its slyly hidden life lessons and basic good values.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sports books. Why are they so popular with kids and adults? What kinds of themes come out in a sports story?
When you buy products endorsed by an athlete with a bad reputation, do you feel like you're supporting the athlete's behavior?
Have you ever worried about a friendship changing because one of you got a new interest, such as sports, music or other friends? How did the situation turn out?
- Author: Kwame Alexander
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: March 18, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Awards: ALA Best and Notable Books, Caldecott Medal and Honors, Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors
- Last updated: June 7, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love sports and coming-of-age stories
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.