The Real Slam Dunk

( 1 )

Overview

Marcus Robinson is psyched! Tomorrow, his class is going on a field trip to a professional basketball arena to meet the one and only Jason Carter, Marcus's hero. Marcus usually ignores everything except for basketball, but this time he studies for hours to win the math contest-for the prize of being the official Jason Carter greeter! But when Jason tells Marcus some things he didn't expect to hear about professional basketball, Marcus is confused. He thought that all he'd ever need in life was basketball. Thanks ...

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Overview

Marcus Robinson is psyched! Tomorrow, his class is going on a field trip to a professional basketball arena to meet the one and only Jason Carter, Marcus's hero. Marcus usually ignores everything except for basketball, but this time he studies for hours to win the math contest-for the prize of being the official Jason Carter greeter! But when Jason tells Marcus some things he didn't expect to hear about professional basketball, Marcus is confused. He thought that all he'd ever need in life was basketball. Thanks to Jason, Marcus is about to learn the meaning of a real slam dunk.

Ten-year-old Marcus plans to become a professional basketball player, but when he, his twin sister, and their classmates meet a real star on a school field trip, they learn the importance of dreaming more than one career dream.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Marcus loves basketball and his class is going on a field trip where they will meet his hero, Jason Carter, a professional basketball player, and Marcus is to be the spokesman for the class. Marcus has the usual growing-up problems—a twin sister who is taller than he is, a mom and dad who make him get his hair cut before the big day (he thought it made him look taller), and having his Carter jersey shrink when he washes so he can wear it the on the field trip. More seriously, he has a problem with going to school because he does not think he will ever use what he is learning there. The purpose of the story seems to be a reminder for children that there is more in the world than sports and that even those lucky enough to make it in professional sports should have another career to fall back on. Carter talks about his job as a basketball player: the long practices, early morning runs, weight training, studying plays and opponents' games, and consequences of being late for practice. He also talks about his college degree in chemistry and how important it is for his future when he can no longer play pro ball. Children will enjoy reading this book because they all relate to heroes although they may not relate to the underlying theme of planning for their futures. It is a quick read that will probably cause more enjoyment than reflection. 2005, Dial Books for Young Readers, Ages 8 to 12.
—Naomi Williamson
Kirkus Reviews
Marcus and Mia Robinson, genial elementary-school-aged twins, are excited about meeting fictional NBA star Jason Carter. Mia is writing an article for her newspaper and Marcus, the budding basketball star, has won the honor of asking the class's questions during a field trip to Giants Practice Day. Sometimes sounding more like motivational speaking than fiction, Richardson encourages her young audience to dream more than one dream. After Carter points out the obvious facts-that most athletes do not become professional athletes, athletes often get injured and athletes need to have other interests-young Marcus thinks more about his mathematical talents. Though it seems unlikely that a top NBA athlete would choose NCAA Division II Morehouse University (where, conveniently, Martin Luther King Jr. matriculated) over the NBA, cynicism should be put on hold for this feel-good lesson for the youngest reader. Engaging cover and black-and-white interior art will draw many fans, especially those elusive boy readers. Not quite a slam-dunk, but the straightforward, accessible story will invite them to stay for the end of the game. (Fiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142402122
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 482,687
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 590L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.09 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Charisse K. Richardson, an avid sports fan since she was a child, uses sports to capture the reading interests of children. She is a member of the NBA Read to Achieve All-Star Reading Team. Charisse, a former Corporate Communications Manager, graduated from Howard University and received her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to writing, she conducts motivational workshops designed to encourage youth to strive for success in the game of life. She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Read an Excerpt

Marcus took a closer look at the basketball court. His gaze locked on the orange circle in the center. It looked like a giant basketball squished flat and tattooed on the wood. He imagined Jason standing there at tip-off with his hands reaching into the air, as if he were grasping for heaven. Then Marcus looked at the basketball goals. Each one looked so tiny. He imagined Jason swirling around like a ballerina and smashing the ball through the little rim all in the blink of an eye.

Rusty walked past the railing onto the court.

“Can we go out there?” Marcus asked.

“Of course,” Rusty said, nodding.

“This is the best field trip ever,” Marcus whispered to Juan. He hurried to the sidelines with the rest of his class. But he stopped just short of the court. With one more step, he would be standing on Jason Carter’s turf. That was special territory.

Marcus took a deep breath and carefully placed his right foot down. Screech! The bottom of his Fly Carters let out a loud noise. The sound startled him. He quickly brought his left foot down before he lost his balance. Screech! The floor cried out again. Then the noise became louder and louder as pairs of his classmates’ sneakers skidded onto the court.

The noise reminded Marcus of the squeaky-clean sound of glass cleaner being wiped off windows.

Finally the noise stopped, and everyone grew quiet. Marcus tiptoed to the center of the court. He could see his reflection in the floor.

It must have taken hours to polish these floors, he thought to himself. He wanted to dash to the free-throw line. But Marcus was scared to mess up the floor’s sparkle. After all, his mother didn’t let him slide around on their shiny dining room floor at home.

Bright lights suddenly beamed down on the court. Marcus knew that was his moment to shine. He quickly lifted his hands high in the air. His hands were grasping the ball he was saving for Jason Carter. Then Marcus imagined the crowd screaming his name. He raised up on the balls of his feet and stretched his body toward the basket. Just as Marcus was about to shoot the ball, he heard thundering footsteps.

“Who is that on my playground, ground, ground...?” a hollow voice cried out and echoed into the bleachers.

The deep voice startled the kids. Marcus wobbled on his tiptoes as he stood in perfect position to release his shot.

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Interviews & Essays

Q&A with author Charisse K. Richardson

When did you start writing?
I've been writing since childhood. I've always loved to write. I really can't remember a time when I wasn't writing or at least letting my imagination run free inside of my head. I didn't actually begin writing a book until approximately eleven years ago. That was when I sat down to start The Real Slam Dunk.

What made you decide to write THE REAL SLAM DUNK?
My journey of writing for children actually began in 1994 after volunteering to work with at-risk youth programs and schools in New Jersey and New York City. After repeatedly asking kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, I became increasing disheartened with hearing so many children (especially boys) respond by saying they wanted to become professional athletes or entertainers. Being a big sports fan, on the surface I had no problem with kids wanting to be athletes. Most boys, and a growing number of girls, always have and always will aspire to become professional athletes. After all, who doesn't want to be like Mike (Michael Jordan)? That seems to have become part of the American dream. Unfortunately, however, for many children that is all that they will ever aspire to become. This realization is what led me to put pen to paper and begin writing The Real Slam Dunk.

What would you like young readers to learn from Marcus?
Life is about more than your favorite sport. Even if you are the best player in your school, there is no guarantee that you will be good enough to play sports on the professional level. I hope Marcus's story will encourage young readers to chase more than one dream and work hard to make all of those dreams come true. Hopefully, Marcus's realization that he is good at basketball and math can also help children realize that they have multiple talents and abilities. Like Marcus, they should work to perfect all of their talents.

Are any of your characters based on you or your family?
Jason's character is a compilation of the strong male figures that surrounded me as a child. Although they loved sports, they knew that the value of an education is priceless. Mia's character is somewhat similar to me as a child. Like her, I was quite inquisitive, a huge sports fan, and wanted to be a reporter. The other child characters in the story were created based on observing and listening to kids interacting with each other and based on my own imagination.

What were some of your favorite books when you were growing up?
Books by Dr. Seuss, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary. I also enjoyed reading From the Mixed Up Files and About the B'nai Bagels by E.L. Konigsburg.

What are you reading now?
I usually read a few books at one time. I'm currently reading Little Scarlet by Walter Mosley and Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A well written tale for elementary school children

    Twins Marcus and Mia as well as other students at their school look forward to meeting superstar basketball player Jason Carter just before a pro game. Both enjoy playing the game and Marcus, who is a math whiz, hopes to be as good as his hero Jason. His sister wants to be a reporter and is writing an article on the visit with Jason. The kids have good time while Jason encourages them to understand that there is more to life than sports as he was a chemistry major in college................... THE REAL SLAM DUNK is a well written tale aimed at elementary school children. Young readers will appreciate Marcus as he worries that Mia is taller than him and how to behave when he meets his hero. The story line makes no apologies in that it emphasizes education is more important of a dream although it is okay to want to be a famous wealthy basketball player. This reviewer kept thinking of Mrs. Reagan¿s unrealistic ¿Just say no¿ campaign as Jason preached having dreams outside the hardwood floor............................... Harriet Klausner

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