Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Last night, I finished reading The Crossover, and My People, this book is a page turner....
First of all, this book is written for young adult readers, and it is written in verse. If you are around kids, you know how much they love poetry especially when the language is accessible and the topic is relatable. So, most students, even those who are a little older than young adult, will love this book.
I just love how Kwame uses words. He uses the words’ position to give visual meaning, and you must read this novel to find out how the title, The Crossover, is cleverly used as a pun. The language is simple enough yet complex enough to catch and hold the reader’s attention right from the very beginning. Kwame also beautifully uses verse to develop each individual character’s voice, the storyline which is infused with sports and sports terminology which Kwame carefully explains, and many themes which students will appreciate such as overcoming obstacles, coming of age, the complex dynamics of relationships, love, family etc.
This is not one of those "I had it tough, but I made it kind of books.” This is a book where the mother is an assistant principal, the dad is an ex-professional basketball player, and the twins, Jordan (JB) and Josh (Filthy McNasty), are twelve year old boys who are the stars of their middle school basketball team, but they still have common middle school problems. I was completely drawn into the authenticity of this family where we are shown the image of a strong African American father figure who has close bonds with his sons and wife.
I have desperately been trying to think of ways that I can use this more of a middle school book in my 10th grade classes: as a read aloud, as an independent reading that rotates throughout the class, as a group reading assignment where the kids read to each other. Also, I’ve thought about the possibility of using some of the quotes that are meant to teach lessons as writing prompts. However, if you are a middle school teacher, you can google The Crossover, and all types of things will come up, including teaching ideas. You can take those ideas, modify them, and make them your own. I’m thinking that I can also modify some of those plans to teach this novel to high school students as well.
Regardless of age or race, I think that almost any person can enjoy and even relate to this book!
Kwame Alexander will reach so many students, even reluctant readers, with this book.
I know exactly why this book won The Newbery Medal and The Coretta Scott King Award; IT’S GREAT!