The Playbook by Kwame Alexander, review by Sarah Bagby
Kwame Alexander has written two novels in verse. Each verse/voice is distinct and fun to read.
Crossover, a recipient of the coveted Newbery Medal, is the story of 12-year-old twins Josh and Jordan, both basketball players. Brotherhood conflicts are ages old, but this journey of two boys finding their way, on and off the court, is told with a fresh spirit. Here is a pre-game quote: "With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat," one twin recites, "DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,”
In a follow up novel, Booked, Alexander writes about family, friendship, love, and bullying as his 12-year-old character kicks his way, in verse, around the soccer field.
On Valentine’s Day he releases The Playbook. Alexander has written a lyrical motivational book that begins with a section of warm up, followed by four quarters, including half-time, before we end in overtime. The four quarters’ themes -- Grit, Motivation, Focus, and Teamwork and Resilience -- are introduced with an essay followed by a set of Alexander’s rules. Written in verse, each rule is accompanied by an inspirational quote by an athlete or heroic figure.
Here is rule #39:
It’s Okay to
Take Time Out
It is accompanied the words of Maya Angelou: “All great achievements require time.”
With illustrations and photographs by Thai Neave, this Playbook is a comfort and a nudge for those days when you’re about to give up.
Sarah's review first appeared on 89.1 KMUW. You can listen to the review HERE.