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The Crossover

by Kwame Alexander

Hardcover, 237 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, List Price: $16.99 |

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Title
The Crossover
Author
Kwame Alexander

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NPR Summary

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.

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NPR stories about The Crossover

In Dan Santat's The Adventures of Beekle, an imaginary friend sets out to find a child who needs him. Courtesy of Little Brown and Company Books for Young Readers hide caption

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Courtesy of Little Brown and Company Books for Young Readers

'Adventures Of Beekle' Wins Caldecott; Newbery Goes To 'The Crossover'

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: The Crossover

Dribbling
At the top of the key, I'm
MOVING & GROOVING,
POPping and ROCKING
Why you BUMPING?
Why you LOCKING?
Man, take this THUMPING.
Be careful though,
'cause now I'm CRUNKing
CrissCROSSING
FLOSSING
flipping
and my dipping will leave you
S
L
I
P
P
I
N
G on the floor, while I
SWOOP in
to the finish with a fierce finger roll . . .
Straight in the hole:
Swoooooooooooosh.

Josh Bell
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame.
Folks call me that
'cause my game's acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it'll put you to shame. My hair is long, my height's tall.
See, I'm the next Kevin Durant,
LeBron, and Chris Paul.

Remember the greats,
my dad likes to gloat:
I balled with Magic and the Goat.
But tricks are for kids, I reply.
Don't need your pets
my game's so
fly.

Mom says,
Your dad's old school,
like an ol' Chevette.
You're fresh and new,
like a red Corvette.
Your game so sweet, it's a crêpes suzette.
Each time you play
it's ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL net.

If anyone else called me
fresh and sweet,
I'd burn mad as a flame.
But I know she's only talking about my game.
See, when I play ball,
I'm on fire. When I shoot, I inspire.
The hoop's for sale, and I'm the buyer.

How I Got My Nickname
I'm not that big on jazz music, but Dad is.
One day we were listening to a CD
of a musician named Horace Silver, and Dad says,

Josh, this cat is the real deal.
Listen to that piano, fast and free,
Just like you and JB on the court.

It's okay, I guess, Dad.
Okay? DID YOU SAY OKAY?
Boy, you better recognize

greatness when you hear it.
Horace Silver is one of the hippest.
If you shoot half as good as he jams—

Dad, no one says "hippest" anymore.
Well, they ought to, 'cause this cat
is so hip, when he sits down he's still standing, he says.

Real funny, Dad.
You know what, Josh?
What, Dad?

I'm dedicating this next song to you.
What's the next song?
Only the best song,

the funkiest song
on Silver's Paris Blues album:
"FILTHY
McNASTY."

At first

I didn't like the name
because so many kids made fun of me
on the school bus,
at lunch, in the bathroom.
Even Mom had jokes.

It fits you perfectly, Josh, she said:
You never clean your closet, and
that bed of yours is always filled
with cookie crumbs and candy wrappers.
It's just plain nasty, son.

But, as I got older
and started getting game,
the name took on a new meaning.
And even though I wasn't into
all that jazz,
every time I'd score,
rebound,
or steal a ball,
Dad would jump up
smiling and screamin',


That's my boy out there.
Keep it funky, Filthy!

And that made me fee
real good
about my nickname.