Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball

Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball

4.3 3
by John Coy, Joe Morse
     
 

Taking over a rowdy gym class right before winter vacation is not something James Naismith wants to do at all. The last two teachers of this class quit in frustration. The students—a bunch of energetic young men—are bored with all the regular games and activities. Naismith needs something new, exciting, and fast to keep the class happy—or someone's

Overview

Taking over a rowdy gym class right before winter vacation is not something James Naismith wants to do at all. The last two teachers of this class quit in frustration. The students—a bunch of energetic young men—are bored with all the regular games and activities. Naismith needs something new, exciting, and fast to keep the class happy—or someone's going to get hurt. Saving this class is going to take a genius. Discover the true story of how Naismith invented basketball in 1891 at a school in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Pamela Paul
Coy's story about the dawn of basketball in 1891…offers an interesting account of the factors that went into devising the game.
Publishers Weekly
Coy (the 4 for 4 series) tells the story of basketball’s founding in 1891 directly and succinctly. Young teacher James Naismith takes over a gym class of unruly young men. When other organized games produce walking wounded, “Naismith felt like giving up but couldn’t. The boys in the class reminded him of how he’d been at their age—energetic, impatient, and eager for something exciting.” Thirteen rules, a ball, and two peach baskets later, he develops a new game that demands accuracy while tempering aggressiveness. The story’s dynamism comes from Morse’s (Play Ball, Jackie!) stylized prints, whose posterlike quality is amplified by the limited palette of blue, brown, and maroon. Lanky limbs stretch dramatically across the pages, a visual foil to Coy’s spare storytelling style. While it’s slightly disconcerting to have the students referred to as “boys” when they appear as mustached young adults, their grimacing, chiseled features in motion are attention- grabbing. This lively glimpse into the beginnings of a hugely popular sport concludes with a short author’s note and bibliography. Ages 7�11. Author’s agent: Transatlantic Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Heflin Reps. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Rosa Roberts
Who would have thought boring exercises and gymnastics would lead to the invention of the sport of basketball? James Naismith is the third teacher to take over a rowdy gym class in hopes of placating the unruly students. Through some attempts at other activities, Naismith recalls a game he played as a boy, Duck on a Rock. Through this childhood game, he came up with the idea to use two peach baskets and soccer balls to invent the game of basketball. This became the game to keep the gym class active and engaged in gym class. In this picture book, young readers will be captivated in reading about the origins of basketball. The illustrations are a throwback to the historical time period. After all, the invention of this popular American sport took place in 1891 at a school in Springfield, Massachusetts. This nonfiction book will make a welcome addition to any library collection or personal collection. Reviewer: Rosa Roberts
Kirkus Reviews
This picture-book basketball history spotlights how James Naismith came to invent the game now played around the world. Stylized illustrations in tones resembling tinted sepia prints depict riotous students playing indoor sports, accumulating more injuries with each page turn. The text asserts that they "had already forced two teachers to quit. / [Naismith] didn't want to, but nobody else would teach that class," setting the scene for Naismith's realization, seemingly self-prompted, that a new game with less physical contact was needed. Memories of childhood games lead to his eureka moment. However, with so little context provided, readers may question where this class was being held, why the "boys" look like men the same age as Naismith and how Naismith came to work with them. The original rules of "Basket Ball" are printed on the end pages, and the players' enthusiasm for the game is evident, but details such as court dimensions and where baskets were hung are not included. Perhaps in a nod to Title IX, youngsters learn that Naismith taught the game to a group of women, and the book ends with a note about the game's inclusion in the 1936 Olympics. Given its limited scope, both hoops fans--who will be familiar with this story from rule and sports-history books--and newbies may feel this book has left them circling the rim. (author's note; selected bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761366171
Publisher:
Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/01/2013
Edition description:
Library Edition
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
171,907
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

John Coy is the author of several picture books, including Night Driving and Strong to the Hoop. He is also the author of the popular 4 for 4 series for middle grade readers. His first young adult novel, Crackback, is about high school football, and his second, Box Out, is about high school basketball. John lives in Minneapolis and is a member of the NBA Reading All-Star Team as part of the Read to Achieve program.

Joe Morse is an award-winning illustrator and artist. His work has graced everything from billboards in England to coins in Canada. He directs the Illustration Degree program at Sheridan Institute outside of Toronto. Joe lives in Toronto with his wife, the illustrator/designer Lorraine Tuson, and their two children.

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Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! My seven year old grandson just received his second medal for outstanding achievement in basketball and I knew he would love this book! Prompt delivery much appreciated! Slam dunk!
Andrea_C More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book, because I never really knew the history behind the game of basketball. I knew it had originally been played with peach baskets and was invented by a teacher. I was amused at how this book shows the innovation of a teacher who is desperate to corral a bunch of rowdy students, especially because I am a teacher. I also liked how it demonstrated the trial and error involved in creating the game. I think it is important for kids to realize that great things don't necessarily happen without a lot of experimentation and perseverance until you get it right. The illustrations amused me, as they are reminiscent of an older style of drawing. I got a kick out of how the players become increasingly injured as the story goes on, as Naismith kept trying out new ideas. The history buff in me loves seeing the original typewritten rules, as well. While it mentions how basketball evolved to the sport that it is today, it doesn't dwell on the current game. Some may think of this as a downfall. I like that it stays true to its title. Interested children may be inspired to research more about it. I think this book will appeal to kids in kindergarten or lower elementary and up. I received a review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.
CatsInSpace More than 1 year ago
Great sports and history read for the elementary aged child When teacher James Naismith took over a gym class of rowdy boys in 1891, it seemed like nothing could get them under control. He tried indoor football, soccer, and even lacrosse – but all were too rough. He needed to get the boys to stop fighting. That’s when he came up with a game that involved no tackling, no running with the ball, and very little touching. Using a soccer ball and a peach basket, Mr. Naismith invented basketball, finally getting his gym class to stop hurting each other and changing the world of sports forever. Author John Coy has presented a very easy-to-read summary of the birth of this great game. Young readers could likely relate to the rough-and-tumble gym class that had grown bored with every usual activity, and this book could even inspire readers to create their own games. Joe Morse’s illustrations lend an old-fashioned charm to the story suitable for the time period in which it takes place. Hoop Genius would be a great addition to any library or classroom collection.