Slam Dunk!

Slam Dunk!

by Sharon Robinson
     
 

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Elijah "Jumper" Breeze is settling into his new home in Harlem--though it hasn't been easy since his father died and his mother moved them from the suburbs.

Still, he made friends at summer camp and he's eager to see them at his new middle school. Jumper is looking forward to hitting the books and hitting the court for some serious b-ball. Then his best friend,

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Overview

Elijah "Jumper" Breeze is settling into his new home in Harlem--though it hasn't been easy since his father died and his mother moved them from the suburbs.

Still, he made friends at summer camp and he's eager to see them at his new middle school. Jumper is looking forward to hitting the books and hitting the court for some serious b-ball. Then his best friend, Kelvin, talks him into running for student council and suddenly life gets a lot more complicated! He needs to out-poll Nia, his fiercest opponent in the student council race, and doesn't want to lose her friendship in the process.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Elijah, also known to his friends as Jumper for his prowess in the basketball field, is a gifted, advanced placement student who nonetheless finds the rhythm of the days at his new school in Harlem confusing compared to his suburban Connecticut experience. His best friend is Kelvin, a Harlem native. Dakota, a white girl who has moved to Harlem from the Upper West Side, is a firm friend to Nia, another intelligent, hard working Harlem native. In spite of their diverse backgrounds, the four protagonists have a lot in common: they are well-rounded students who take an active interest in basketball, dance, and student leadership. These energetic sixth graders get organized as they prepare for a game, a dance tournament, and a campaign for student council representative. On the other hand, Marcus, Jumper�s Nemesis, cannot seem to get it together and is always in trouble. Against a backdrop of family struggles and playground bullying, Jumper learns from his adversary Marcus that the same strategies and skills that are needed to win a game of basketball might help him win the upcoming student elections. He is up against the accomplished and much admired Nia. In their many discussions, the protagonists challenge gender biases and racial stereotypes, while the adults in their lives affirm the value of familial ties and responsibilities. Teachers might find this book useful for exploring cross-cultural issues in language arts or social studies classes. Outside of the classroom, basketball fans are likely to pick this one up for its honest, fast paced depictions of the game. Reviewer: Elizabeth Warrick
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7 The first half of this novel about middle school kids in Harlem sets the scenes, introduces the characters, and describes disjointed events that don't quite work. When Robinson does settle on a plotline, the story moves along well, although it lacks depth. Jumper, 11, introduced in Safe at Home (Scholastic, 2006), has moved from Connecticut to New York, and his dad has recently died. Children who have not read the first book will not understand the dynamics among the characters and the problems Jumper previously experienced with Marcus, a boy he met at baseball camp. When the school announces elections for student-council representatives, Jumper and Nia, Marcus's younger sister, enter the competition. There are campaign slogans, a dance tournament, a boys versus girls basketball game, and some underdeveloped side issues along the way. The kids are too polite, smart, and athletic to be realistic, and there are too many issues that are unresolved. Still, the election campaign makes a good story. Readers might prefer another novel with some strange similarities, Charisse K. Richardson's The Real Slam Dunk (Dial, 2005), with twins Marcus and Mia involved in school and basketball, too.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439672009
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/01/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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