The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Winner, 2015 Newbery Award
Twins Josh and Jordan, stars of their junior high basketball team, experience changing relationships with their parents, girls, and each other in a story bursting with rhythmic, fun-to-read verse.
A quick shoulder SHAKE,
a slick eye FAKE --
Number 28 is way past late.
He's reading me like a
but I turn the page
and watch him look ...
About the Author
Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 21 books. He is the founder of two organizations, Book-in-a-Day and LEAP for Ghana.
I knew I wanted to include a basketball in this piece, so I hand cut and stitched a piece of leather. It felt fitting to only include one basketball, despite the two players, since one of the book's themes is learning to find yourself as an individual. (Plus, you only need one ball to play the game!) The tin heart represents the girl nicknamed Miss Sweet Tea. Pink is one of the few colors specifically mentioned in the book. (Orange—the color of a basketball—is the other.) I used metal stamping for the quote to create a deep, permanent indention in the metal. I used paint and ink to create the border. The words seem to pour out of the protagonist, so I wanted a jumbled, almost graffiti-like feeling. If you look closely, you can see a few of the words and names from the book: Da Man, Duke, JB. The handstamped copper year represents the year that the book won the Newbery Award. I wanted something that looked a little award-like, since this is a sports book and winning is a constant theme.
I found this book fun and engaging, but it's not something I would have read as a kid (ick—sports!). You can tell that the author loves language. (This could very well be the first book I've ever read with the word "pulchritudinous.") The words are not only carefully chosen, but often artfully arranged on the page. It seems like a great book to recommend to a reluctant tween or teen reader, as the number of words on the page isn't overwhelming, but at the same time, they quickly cut to the heart. I also bet that the audio version would make for a fun listen.
As for my project, stitching leather with cotton thread was much more challenging than I anticipated! I did use an awl to make some stitch guidelines, but I didn't have any tools that would have punched such tiny holes in the leather. If you have helpful hints for stitching leather, I'd love to hear them.
Readers: If you read this book, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.
Liked it? Hated it? Would you recommend it?