When I pick a book to read aloud with Blaine, I look for one that he’ll like but that he wouldn’t choose for himself.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander seemed perfect. It’s about things that interest him: sports (basketball, not baseball, but still…), seventh graders, brothers, and parents. And the challenging part: the story is told entirely in verse.
Usually, we both like our read-alouds. Not this time, though. I enjoyed it, but Blaine never warmed to the poetry.
I’ll be the first to admit that I prefer novels in prose. This book did not change my mind. But I found the characters compelling: the narrator (Josh Bell), his twin brother (J.B.), his brother’s new girlfriend (Alexis a.k.a Miss Sweet Tea), his mother (Dr. Bell a.k.a. the Assistant Principal), and his father (Chuck “Da Man” Bell). I admire the way Alexander conveys their voices and personalities with an economy of words.
I especially liked the interactions between Josh and his dad. And I liked his dad’s ten rules of basketball–and of life.
At times, the story made me laugh, and the ending made me cry. Blaine’s embarassed reaction: “Mom, it’s just a book. It’s a poem. That’s like crying over Jabberwocky.”