Hello, my name is Tracy and I’m college basketball-obsessed. It’s been three minutes since I watched a men’s NCAA game, and I’m quite sure I’ll sneak away** from this post to check out another. I’d like to say my family is supportive of my attempts at recovery, but they’re not much more functional than me. And in the case of my 16-year-old son, I’d say he’s got it worse. At least I’m not constantly checking scores on my phone.
(Why yes, it is an ancient flip-phone. What’s your point?)
In addition to love-love-loving college basketball, I adore reading. Fortunately, there are lots of books out there for middle-grade readers who enjoy this sport. While I couldn’t find any books aimed at young people on the art and science of bracketology, I did find a broad array of fiction with basketball playing a prominent part in the story.
MASON DIXON: BASKETBALL DISASTERS by Claudia Mills
Tracy’s note: While author says she personally is “not tall, not very coordinated, and has no hustle,” Mills wrote a convincing story about a reluctant basketball player who makes funny observations on his way to becoming a player.
Tracy’s note: Grimes does a beautiful job writing in verse about what it’s like to be a 12-year-old girl who lives and breathes basketball, and then experiences both physical and emotional changes that affect how she views the boys she used to only see as competitors.
Tracy’s note: Being the mom of a long-time basketball player, this story, told from the point of view of three sixth-grade boys and one girl, rings absolutely true regarding parental expectations, highs and lows of competition, and the politics of team sports. While this book definitely would hook young readers, I think parents would also enjoy and benefit from these narrators’ insights.
STANFORD WONG FLUNKS BIG-TIME by Lisa Yee
Tracy’s note: Stanford loves basketball so much he’s willing to be tutored in English by “the world’s biggest nerdball, Millicent Min” so that he can be on the team. I can relate, seeing as I have to get these blurbs evenly spaced before I can get back to my beloved games. Aargh!
THE REAL SLAM DUNK by Charisse K. Richardson
Tracy’s note: This story of 10-year-old Marcus and his twin Mia doesn’t contain basketball action, but instead delivers a message about how it’s okay to dream of being a basketball star as long as you have other dreams, too.
DRAGON ROAD by Laurence Yep
Tracy’s note: I’m interested in reading this book about a 1939 Chinese American basketball team, but stopped when I realized the protagonists are recent high school graduates (the book was shelved in the juvenile section of my library but is at minimum an upper middle-grade story). If I can find time between games, I’m going to continue reading this.
The NCAA brackets have now been set. I watched Selection Sunday with my two sons as the teams and initial match-ups were announced, and am giddy with anticipation. Happy March Madness, everyone! The first games aren’t until tomorrow so you still have plenty of time to pick up a book. Please add any other basketball-inspired books in the comments and also tournament favorites or predictions.
**I watched the last minutes of the Wisconsin – Indiana game. Shhh!
Tracy Abell wishes her free throw percentage was higher because, you know, they’re FREE throws.