Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court

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Overview

Pass! Shoot! Swish! An all-star team of YA authors scores spectacularly with an action-packed anthology about street basketball.

It’s one steamy July day at the West 4th Street Court in NYC, otherwise known as The Cage. Hotshot ESPN is wooing the scouts, Boo is struggling to guard the weird new guy named Waco, a Spike Lee wannabe has video rolling, and virgin Irene is sizing up six-foot-eightand-a-half-inch Chester. Nine of YA literature’s top writers, including Walter Dean ...

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Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court

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Overview

Pass! Shoot! Swish! An all-star team of YA authors scores spectacularly with an action-packed anthology about street basketball.

It’s one steamy July day at the West 4th Street Court in NYC, otherwise known as The Cage. Hotshot ESPN is wooing the scouts, Boo is struggling to guard the weird new guy named Waco, a Spike Lee wannabe has video rolling, and virgin Irene is sizing up six-foot-eightand-a-half-inch Chester. Nine of YA literature’s top writers, including Walter Dean Myers, Rita Williams-Garcia, Adam Rapp, Joseph Bruchac, and Sharon Flake reveal how it all goes down in a searing collection of short stories, in which each one picks up where the previous one ends. Characters weave in and out of narratives, perspectives change, and emotions play out for a fluid and fast-paced ode to the game. Crackling with humor, grit, and streetball philosophy, and featuring poems and photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr., this anthology is a slam dunk.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Nine all-stars in the field of YA lit contribute stories...an anthology of standalone stories that invite - no, demand - a straight read-through.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

Tying all the stories together is a shared love and respect not only for the game itself, but also for the lavishly talented (and all-too-often fatally flawed) legends od New York City playground basketball. An outstanding collection that belongs in every high school library.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Superb stories by writers who know and love the game; and ode to the show.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Publishers Weekly
Opening with an incantatory poem from Smith ("faces behind fences/ focused courtside/ on warriors being tested/ with noplace to hide"), this collection is made up of rapid-fire short stories that take place over a single day on a famed New York City streetball court—"the Cage"—from such authors as Walter Dean Myers, Sharon Flake, Rita Williams-Garcia, Robert Lipsyte, and Adam Rapp. Interwoven with additional poems and photos from Smith, the stories offer blistering moves and dialogue, complex and rewarding characters, and off-the-court background, contextualizing the game and making it clear just how vital it is to those who play. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)
ALAN Review - Barbara A. Ward
The basketball is put into play in a series of stories from nine young adult authors interwoven with poems about the popular game. But this isn't tournament play; rather, the focus is street ball as it is played on New York City's West 4th Street Court. Each of the stories picks up where the one before it left off, linking the characters and the action seamlessly. Walter Dean Myers starts the game with his contribution describing Boo guarding an eerily silent white player, and the pace never flags. Just as basketball is played in different styles, the stories are written in unique fashions, revealing their authors' personalities and offering brief vignettes of the games being played out, on and off the court. Rita Williams-Garcia even puts into the game the talented Dominique, a character from her earlier novel Jumped. An afterword and contributor comments make this one a slam dunk. Reviewer: Barbara A. Ward
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Some of the most distinguished names in YA literature are represented in this collection of linked stories set on a celebrated New York City playground basketball court known as the Cage. Such luminaries as Walter Dean Myers, Bruce Brooks, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Robert Lipsyte examine the ways in which players, wannabes, and hangers-on interact in the vibrant, freewheeling subculture of inner-city playground hoops. All of the action takes place on one day, with recurring characters. The contributors offer different takes on them, forcing readers to consider the individuals from a variety of points of view. It is fascinating to see how these writers bring their own unique social and artistic vision to the portrayal of the individuals who weave in and out of the narratives. The stories are of uniformly high quality; one of the real crowd-pleasers is Sharon G. Flake's "Virgins Are Lucky," which stars a sassy, self-respecting girl who decides not to text the handsome star player who has so casually given her his number. Other characters who will live on in readers' memories are Adam Rapp's smart-mouthed, sensitive eighth-grader recently rescued from homelessness by a brooding Iraq War veteran and Joseph Bruchac's Native American man, stricken with respiratory problems as a result of his rescue work at the World Trade Center. Tying all the stories together is a shared love and respect not only for the game itself, but also for the lavishly talented (and all-too-often fatally flawed) legends of New York City playground basketball. An outstanding collection that belongs in every high school library.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
Kirkus Reviews

Gladiators meet at the Cage, a fenced-in basketball court at West 4th in Manhattan, one of the legendary sites of playground ball. Sportswriter Rick Telander titled his classic basketball story Heaven Is a Playground, and that's certainly the description of the Cage, where ballers come "wearing attitude like / baggy shorts," and high-flying slams, rainbows and double dunks offer aerial thrills as good as fireworks. Here are the players, the mentors, the used-to-bes and the wannabes, the scouts, the filmmakers, the ghosts and the legends. Some of the best contemporary writers for teens—Walter Dean Myers, Robert Lipsyte, Rita Williams-Garcia, Joseph Bruchac and others—contribute to this novel in linked short stories, in which the players weave their way through one day at the Cage, and Charles R. Smith ties the volume together with rap poems celebrating the place, the people and the throbbing energy of the game—as Walt Whitman might have had he been a baller. Superb stories by writers who know and love the game; an ode to the show. (Linked short stories. 14 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763660680
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 315,761
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.62 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Aronson is an editor and author of many award-winning books for young people, including War Is. . . . Soldiers, Survivors, and Storytellers Talk About War, which he coedited with Patty Campbell, and Sugar Changed the World, which he cowrote with Marina Budhos. Marc Aronson lives in New Jersey.

Charles R. Smith Jr. won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for his photographs in My People by Langston Hughes. He is also the author and photographer of Winning Words: Sports Stories and Photographs and the author of Hoop Queens, Hoop Kings, Chameleon, and Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali, winner of a Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor. Charles R. Smith Jr. lives in Poughkeepsie, New York.

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