The Crossover: Plenty of Swagger, Lots of Praise

By Sarah S. Tue, September 8, 2015
Newbery Award winner The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Newbery Award winner The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for most distinguished contribution to children’s literature, and deservingly so. The Crossover is filled with lots of rhyme and reason.This poetic and lyrical novel written in verse is a tale about a pair of 13-year-old identical twin basketball stars, and their relationship with their father, who once had a chance to play for the NBA.

The story is narrated by Josh, the twin with a head full of dreads—the main attraction on and off the courts. This intellectual poet is known for his “fresh and sweet” dribbles, comparing himself to the likes of Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Chris Paul. Josh’s style earned him the nickname “Filthy McNasty,” from distinguished jazz musician Horace Silver’s 1961 Filthy McNasty album. "Josh," his father says, “listen to that piano, fast and free, just like you and JB on the court.”

Jordan, the twin with the better jumper, goes by JB; his favorite NBA player is Michael Jordan. Like most preadolescents at the onset of puberty, his interest in girls is increasing, and, thus, he changes the trajectory of his once-inseparable relationship with Josh. 

Alexander has beautifully woven across chapters themes of pre-adolescence, brotherhood and fatherhood, basketball, health awareness, and crossing over.  From a “teaching” children’s librarian's perspective, Alexander’s ability to provide the reader with strong vocabulary and then, without interrupting the flow of comprehension, give meaning by way of syntax, is genius. His quality of language provides a special aesthetic and intensity that the reader will find hard to put down and will miss when the story ends.

The Crossover is definitely written to last. It has style and plenty of swag—it just might be the jumpstart a reluctant reader needs to become a lover of books.

This month’s children’s book review is written by Robin Muldor, Library Supervisor/Children’s Librarian of Overbrook Park Library.

Have you read The Crossover yet? What did you think?


I loved this book.
Sharon - Philadelphia Tue, September 08, 2015
I haven't read the book but the review has inspired me to get a copy and read it with my nephew who is 13 and into sports.
Lynita - mount clemens Tue, September 08, 2015
I loved the review, it was well written and had me intrigued enough to buy the book. I loved the vivid, descriptiona of the characters "Josh, a head full of dreads", as if he is next to me. Great job Robin.
Robon Tue, September 08, 2015
I enjoyed the description of the book, and the mentioning of Kevin Durant who is from Prince Georges County, Maryland. Outstanding write up Robin!
wayne - Fort Washington Wed, September 09, 2015
great review Robin! I'll have to go buy this book. It sounds like it will inform my work with fathers
Kerry - wyncote Wed, September 09, 2015
I haven't read the book, but the review has me inspired to purchase and read it for myself (my kids are grown so they can purchase their own copy...LOL).
Michael - Washington, DC Wed, September 09, 2015
Love the review. Sounds like a good book. Good job Robin!
Caprice McGill - Philadelphia Wed, September 09, 2015
Great review! I love your description of the brothers. You brought them to life for me and I have not read this yet. I also love the metion of jazz musician Horace Silver. This would be a great way to get kids interested in learning more about jazz and listening to Silver's music. Putting this one on my "to read" list for sure.
Mary - Chester Heights Wed, September 09, 2015
Thanks for the review. It inspired me to purchase a copy for my youngest mentee, now a sixth-grader. Based on the review, I believe he will love the book.
Nigel Alston - Winston-Salem, NC Wed, September 09, 2015
Awesome and engaging review. It draws you into the book making you feel like you're a part of the story. Very descriptive and detailed. Well done! I'll get the book and look forward to your next review.
Jeff Jones - Philadelphia Wed, September 09, 2015
This is a very comprehensive reading style of writing. Extremely inspiration and can ignite the young minds of this next generation to believe and fall in love with reading. Providing hope beyond what their eyes may see and opening a world of possibilities.
Cynthia - North Carolina Wed, September 09, 2015
if the book is as good as the review, I believe it will inspire young and older readers. I am looking forward to moore reviews. God bless
Mark - philly Wed, September 09, 2015
Well done! Look forward to the book.... I'm a big kid too. Wishing you all the best Robin, you deserve it.
Linda McKiver Boyce - North Carolina Wed, September 09, 2015
The Crossover sounds like a book that several, if not all of my students would enjoy! Checking with our school librarian today to see if we have and if not let's get this book! Thanks for the review!
Juanita Radden - Washington DC Thu, September 10, 2015
Great review. I work with children of all ages. I am going to buy this book "The Crossover" to add to my book shelf. This review was well written. I actually can picture this story in my head. 👍🏾
Tiffany Tucker - Philadelphia Fri, September 11, 2015
My 14 year old son will love this book! Based on this great review, I may be compelled to read it as well...might have to get my own copy. Can't wait!
Eric Satterthwaite - Cherry Hill, NJ Fri, September 11, 2015
The review is certainly persuasive. How you present the essence of the book was smart and intriguing. Great review!
Clifton Vassell - harrisburg Pa Fri, September 11, 2015
Nice review. Inspires me to want to read the book!
Morris Thomas Jr - Philadelphia Fri, September 11, 2015
ROBIN's QOUTE ""it just might be the jumpstart a reluctant reader needs to become a book lover "" I'm not much of a reader and only some books have kept my interest to complete, sounds intriguing and very well written to entice one to read !!
Relina - Philadelphia Sun, September 13, 2015
I loved the review. It makes me want to read the book as an educator. I don't have time to read every book I think would interest my students, so having a reviewer to recommend them for me is essential. Most importantly, I feel the urge to share with my students based upon the vivid descriptors given by the reviewer. It was helpful to know that the author uses "strong vocabulary," which is an area my students could use help with. The fact that it has an athletic focus will prove helpful for pulling my male students in.
Kathy - Philadelphia Sun, September 13, 2015
great review Robin, actually I'm not surprised coming from you because I have always known you as someone who is vested in children's literacy and overall education. I wish my teenager is still on summer vacation, I would have made this his summer must read. The analogy to real life sports heros resonates with me because it made the book relatable to kids and even educators like myself. When winter hi days roles in I will get this book for my teen and we can read and have some intellectual discourse. Kudos Robin!
Beatrice Adigwe - glen mills, Pennsylvania Sun, September 13, 2015
As I read the review I became more intrigued by the dynamics of the father-son(s) bond.. when reading I like to visualize the characters and this review easily did that for me. I will be picking up a copy of this novel for myself & for my youngest nephew who is an avid reader!
Swannette Jones - Georgia Sun, September 13, 2015
Thank you for the interesting review! I will recommend this book to my students.
Jim Hardy - Kensington, Philadelphia Mon, September 14, 2015
Great review. Craftily written to lure anyone to want to read this book. I definitely think it will be a good addition to my grandson's book collection.
Teresa - Orlando Mon, September 14, 2015
This book review is has really peaked and interest in me to check this book out for myself and some of my young brothers. I have an awesome 5th grade teacher that I am going to recommend this book for his class to read here in Upper Marlbor, MD! Thanks Robin!
Eric - Maryland Tue, September 15, 2015
Great review to Ms.Muldor,seems like a great book to have in my collection for the little nephews coming up. Very interesting!
Debbie - Bowie Tue, September 15, 2015
Beautiful review makes me want to read the book. Also reading the review inspires me to complete my book in hopes to recieve a review as beautiful as this one...great job Robin!
Ronald Cook - Philadelphia Wed, September 16, 2015
Great review!!! I enjoy how you describe the the relationship between the father and the twins! I am greatful for this piece of literature because it ties basketball with life therefore making it relatable to all young kids!!!
Tyree Evans - Philadelphia Wed, September 16, 2015
This well-written and thoughtful review makes me want to get this book immediately. Sounds like a really good read, and I love the idea that it's written in verse.
Michele - Philadelphia, PA Sat, September 19, 2015
Wonderful review Robin! We are in need of books that relate to real life and can pull in non-readers! Awesome!
Priscilla - Atlanta Sun, September 20, 2015
Robin your review was a slam dunk it made me go out and get the book for my boys beautifully done.
Lorraine - philadelphia Mon, September 21, 2015
This review inspired me to run to the shelves to find my library's copies so my twin girls, who love sports, can enjoy this lyrical novel. KUDOS to the writer of this review. You have grabbed my attention and put a smile on my girls' faces.
Darren - Philadelphia Tue, September 29, 2015
Wonderful repertoire of emotion, passion and presence!
Gregory - phila Wed, September 30, 2015
I like this book.
Asfianda - Washington Fri, November 06, 2015
I haven't read it but, the review has got me excited. This is a book that I will definitely read with my teenage children.
Cloteal Goodman - Philadelphia Wed, March 23, 2016
I have not read the book but the review was very nice so I look forward to getting the book for my children
Kimberly Muldor - Richmond VA Thu, April 13, 2017

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