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      The Crossover: Graphic Novel

      by Kwame Alexander

      Jan 2020

      Sports Middle Plus

      "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," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood—he's got mad beats, too, which help him find his rhythm when it’s all on the line.

      See the Bell family in a whole new light through Dawud Anyabwile's dynamic illustrations as the brothers' winning season unfolds, and the world as they know it begins to change.

      Two-color illustrations.

      Strike Zone

      by Mike Lupica

      Dec 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Twelve-year-old star Little League pitcher Nick Garcia has a dream. Several, in fact. He dreams he’ll win this season’s MVP and the chance to throw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. He dreams he’ll meet his hero, Yankee’s pitcher Michael Arroyo. He dreams they’ll find a cure for Lupus so he sister won’t have to suffer. But mostly, he dreams one day his family can stop living in fear of the government. For one kid, it’s almost too much to bear.

      Luckily, Nick has his two best friends Ben and Diego to keep him balanced. But when Nick notices a mysterious man lurking on his street corner, he senses a threat. Suddenly, his worst fears are realized, and just when it seems there’s no one they can trust, an unexpected hero emerges and changes everything.

      More Than a Game: Race, Gender, and Politics in Sports

      by Matt Doeden

      Nov 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Sports has never been only about what takes place on the playing field. Matt Doeden explores past and current controversies in a book sure to engage everyone interested in sports, history, and civil rights.

      Source notes. Glossary. Selected bibliography. Further reading. Index. Full-color photographs.

      Speed Demon

      by Fred Bowen

      Oct 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Eager to find his place at his elite new school, ninth-grader Tim Beeman is torn between running track and trying out for football. Where will he feel most comfortable and be able to put his fast running skills to best use?
       
      Tim Beeman is a newcomer at Hilton Prep, and he’s nervous about finding his place at this elite school. But when he sets a new school record for the fifty-yard dash during the first week of classes, he reveals his special talent: speed. Before long, the track and the football teams are urging Tim to join their sport. As exciting as this is, Tim faces a difficult dilemma: his father would love to see him play football, but his mother, who died three years ago, always felt that the sport was too dangerous for young boys.
       
      Tim is torn. He feels he has a lot to offer the football team and is eager to join this popular group, but he can’t shake a lingering fear of being injured. He would definitely be an asset to the track team, but he is drawn to the more prestigious football team. How can Tim put his talent to the best use and at the same time satisfy his own needs?
       
      Author Fred Bowen continues his Sports Story Series with play-by-play action that’s sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats!


      Further information about real “speed demon” football players.

      Benchwarmers

      by John Feinstein

      Oct 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Twelve-year-old Jeff Michaels, son of a Philadelphia TV sports reporter, is just learning to play soccer on the new sixth-grade team at his middle school. Andrea Carillo has fought her way onto the squad, but the coach doesn’t think girls should play with boys, so she’s riding the bench with Jeff—even though she’s one of the best players. With Jeff’s help, the Philly media gets ahold of the story, and suddenly Andi is all over the news as she shows her worth on the soccer field. But amid bullies, threats, and a media firestorm, will Andi’s skills and Jeff’s perseverance be enough to save the season? From sportswriting powerhouse John Feinstein comes this fast-paced novel about two kids who are only benchwarmers until they prove themselves naturals
      when it comes to teamwork, friendship, and finding a path to victory.

      Up for Air

      by Laurie Morrison

      Sep 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Thirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.

      My Corner of the Ring

      by Jesselyn Silva

      Sep 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      In this Lean-In style inspirational memoir, twelve-year-old Jesselyn Silva offers a ringside seat to girl power and what it takes to win in the ring and in life: punch by punch. Girl Boxer shows kids what it means to be true to yourself and stick with your dreams even when facing adversity and ridicule. Supported by her single dad, Jesselyn (JessZilla in the ring) first donned her boxing gloves at five years of age, making her one of very few female boxers in the country. Girl Boxer charts Jesselyn’s oft times exhilarating and heartbreaking journey to success in a male dominated sport where she struggles to find partners to spar with and combats the viewpoint that no one wants to see a girl fight. Despite an inhospitable environment, Jesselyn still has her sights set on the Olympics. With the help of her very dad, Pedro, who has instilled in her a strong work ethic, she just might make it.It is an exciting and motivational read that will provide kids with the roadmap and encouragement to accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves. Jesselyn’s positive can-do attitude and determination make this a must read.

      Glossary. Black-and-white photographs and illustrations.

      War in the Ring: Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, and the Fight between America and Hitler

      by John Florio

      Aug 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Joe Louis was born in a sharecropper's shack in Alabama and raised in a Detroit tenement. Max Schmeling grew up in poverty in Hamburg, Germany. For both boys, boxing was a way out and a way up. Little did they know someday they would face each other in a pair of battles that would capture the imagination of the world. In America, Joe was a symbol of hope to blacks yearning to participate in the American dream. In Germany, Max was made to symbolize the superiority of the Aryan race. The two men climbed through the ropes with the weight of their countries on their shoulders—and only one would leave victorious.

      Source notes. Bibliography. Index. Black-and-white photos and reproductions.

      Batting Order

      by Mike Lupica

      Jul 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      On or off the field, Matt and Ben couldn’t be more different. Ben Roberson is an all-or-nothing player: he’s big, he’s bold, and he’s brash. Ben’s swing can hit a ball right out of the park—but that’s if he can get a hit at all. Matt Baker is small, and shy, and his stutter has him avoiding the spotlight—even if he’s the best all-rounder on the team. But while Matt knows he’s got the chops, a part of him has always envied “Big Ben” and his attention-grabbing charm. So it’s a total shock when Ben asks Matt to help him work on his swing. Because Ben can’t put the ball into play, and his showboating comes at the expense of the team. And even though Matt’s trying to help, Ben doesn’t seem to take him seriously, especially when it means toning things down. The end of the season is fast approaching—is there enough time for Ben to realize bigger isn’t always better? For Matt to understand that sometimes, being the bigger person means standing up for yourself? Or will they have to accept defeat?

      The NBA Playoffs: In Pursuit of Basketball Glory

      by Matt Doeden

      Jun 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      Do you know:
      -Which team won the first NBA championship?
      -Why Michael Jordan felt awful during one of his greatest playoff performances?
      -How the Golden State Warriors built a playoff dynasty?
      Read about the incredible playoff games that basketball fans will never forget. Clutch performances and shocking finishes have helped make the NBAplayoffs one of the most thrilling spectacles in sports. The biggest moments, from buzzer-beaters to last-second defensive plays, are all here in vivid detail.

      Glossary. Source notes. Further reading. Full-color photographs.

      Goodbye, Mr. Spalding

      by Jennifer Robin Barr

      May 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      In 1930s Philadelphia, twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola live across the street from Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Their families and others on the street make extra money by selling tickets to bleachers on their flat rooftops, which have a perfect view of the field. However, falling ticket sales at the park prompt the manager and park owner to decide to build a wall that will block the view. Jimmy and Lola come up with a variety of ways to prevent the wall from being built, knowing that not only will they miss the view, but their families will be impacted from the loss of income. As Jimmy becomes more and more desperate to save their view, his dubious plans create a rift between him and Lola, and he must work to repair their friendship.

      “Life’s Little Rules.” Author’s note with black-and-white photographs. Resources.

      Lizzy Legend

      by Matthew Ross Smith

      Apr 2019

      Sports Middle Plus

      When Lizzy receives a strange phone call, she wishes for the ability to sink every shot. Now eviscerating the competition in the boys’ basketball league is small potatoes—she has the skills to dominate in the NBA.
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