New York Times bestseller ∙ Newbery Medal Winner ∙ Coretta Scott King Honor Award ∙ 2015 YALSA 2015 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults ∙ 2015 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers ∙ Publishers Weekly Best Book ∙ School Library Journal Best Book ∙ Kirkus Best Book "A beautifully measured novel of life and line."— The New York Times Book Review "With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
About the Author
Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker and performer. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than 500 students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit his website at www.bookinaday.org.
Read an Excerpt
At the top of the key, I’m
MOVING & GROOVING,
POPping and ROCKING—
Why you BUMPING?
Why you LOCKING?
Man, take this THUMPING.
Be careful though,
’cause now I’m CRUNKing
and my dipping will leave you
G on the floor, while I
to the finish with a fierce finger roll . . .
Straight in the hole:
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame.
Folks call me that
’cause my game’s acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame. My hair is long, my height’s tall.
See, I’m the next Kevin Durant,
LeBron, and Chris Paul.
Remember the greats,
my dad likes to gloat:
I balled with Magic and the Goat.
But tricks are for kids, I reply.
Don’t need your pets
my game’s so
Your dad’s old school,
like an ol’ Chevette.
You’re fresh and new,
like a red Corvette.
Your game so sweet, it’s a crêpes suzette.
Each time you play
it’s ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL net.
If anyone else called me
fresh and sweet,
I’d burn mad as a flame.
But I know she’s only talking about my game.
See, when I play ball,
I’m on fire. When I shoot, I inspire.
The hoop’s for sale, and I’m the buyer.
How I Got My Nickname
I’m not that big on jazz music, but Dad is.
One day we were listening to a CD
of a musician named Horace Silver, and Dad says,
Josh, this cat is the real deal.
Listen to that piano, fast and free,
Just like you and JB on the court.
It’s okay, I guess, Dad.
Okay? DID YOU SAY OKAY?
Boy, you better recognize
greatness when you hear it.
Horace Silver is one of the hippest.
If you shoot half as good as he jams—
Dad, no one says “hippest” anymore.
Well, they ought to, ’cause this cat
is so hip, when he sits down he’s still standing, he says.
Real funny, Dad.
You know what, Josh?
I’m dedicating this next song to you.
What’s the next song?
Only the best song,
the funkiest song
on Silver’s Paris Blues album:
I didn’t like the name
because so many kids made fun of me
on the school bus,
at lunch, in the bathroom.
Even Mom had jokes.
It fits you perfectly, Josh, she said:
You never clean your closet, and
that bed of yours is always filled
with cookie crumbs and candy wrappers.
It’s just plain nasty, son.
But, as I got older
and started getting game,
the name took on a new meaning.
And even though I wasn’t into
all that jazz,
every time I’d score,
or steal a ball,
Dad would jump up
smiling and screamin’,
That’s my boy out there.
Keep it funky, Filthy!
And that made me fee
about my nickname.