80 books like The Crossover

By Kwame Alexander,

Here are 80 books that The Crossover fans have personally recommended if you like The Crossover. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Neymar: From the Playground to the Pitch

Madelaine Healey

From my list on sport for 8-12 year olds.

Who am I?

I am an expat Australian freelance writer living in Silicon Valley, and also the mother of two boys aged ten and seven. My boys are avid readers and it is an accepted rule that no one in our family speaks at breakfast. I have a bad habit of reading books over their shoulders, but my boys are still willing helpers on some current writing projects on kids’ fiction and circumnavigating the horribly sad “decline at nine”. I also have a PhD in South Asian Studies and have worked in commercial research and marketing.

Madelaine's book list on sport for 8-12 year olds

Madelaine Healey Why did Madelaine love this book?

This isn’t one you’ll enjoy reading over your kid’s shoulder unless you truly are a diehard soccer fan. Matt and Tom Oldfield’s series of soccer-star bios are comfort food for tween fans - a bland, seemingly never-ending diet of rags to riches stories to inspire every kid with dreams of the Premier League. The prose is undemanding: “With his mohawk dyed red this time, Neymar Jr walked onto the stage. He couldn’t believe what was happening. His goal had beaten brilliant strikes by Wayne Rooney and Lionel Messi”. The story unfolds with a happy triumphalism: Neymar is spotted as a deft-footed child prodigy, he is scouted to the heights of Barcelona, he overcomes injuries, he puts the team first, he is a mega-star who does noble things for Brazil. If you’re not a soccer person, the Oldfields’ books on Lionel Messi, Harry Kane and Paul Pogba don’t read very differently.…

By Tom Oldfield, Matt Oldfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Neymar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The No.1 football series - over 1 million copies sold!

'As Neymar Jr made the long walk to the penalty spot, he knew this was his chance, the one that he had dreamed of since the age of three. If he scored, Brazil would be Olympic Champions for the first time ever.'

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior is the boy who carries the hopes of Brazil on his shoulders. Although he now faces a new challenge at Paris Saint-Germain, it was his years playing for Barcelona, in a fearsome attacking trident alongside Messi and Suarez, that made him a legend…


Book cover of Roller Girl

Misty Wilson Author Of Play Like a Girl

From my list on graphic novels featuring girls who persevere.

Who am I?

Growing up, if I wasn’t good at something right away, I’d quit. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of others. Because of that, I never experienced how great it felt to overcome obstacles, to succeed at something hard—until I played football. Girls Who Persevere is an important topic to me because so often, girls are treated as if they’re inferior or incapable. It’s ingrained in them that they shouldn’t try certain things (like football!), and if they fail at first, it must mean they can’t do it. I think it’s important to see strong girls doing big things, even when they’re hard. These books show just that.

Misty's book list on graphic novels featuring girls who persevere

Misty Wilson Why did Misty love this book?

This is one of the first graphic novels I ever read, and I couldn’t stop laughing. The story is fun, and it’s the perfect example of a girl staying true to who she is while realizing that sometimes people change and friends grow apart as they grow up. I loved that I got to learn a new sport while enjoying this coming-of-age story. 

By Victoria Jamieson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Roller Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The Newbery Honor Award Winner and New York Times bestseller Roller Girl is a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby-perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier's Smile!

For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend…


Book cover of Jackie & Me

Madelaine Healey

From my list on sport for 8-12 year olds.

Who am I?

I am an expat Australian freelance writer living in Silicon Valley, and also the mother of two boys aged ten and seven. My boys are avid readers and it is an accepted rule that no one in our family speaks at breakfast. I have a bad habit of reading books over their shoulders, but my boys are still willing helpers on some current writing projects on kids’ fiction and circumnavigating the horribly sad “decline at nine”. I also have a PhD in South Asian Studies and have worked in commercial research and marketing.

Madelaine's book list on sport for 8-12 year olds

Madelaine Healey Why did Madelaine love this book?

Kids who love the minutiae of sport - collecting the cards, following the stats, learning the teams and their star players - are often drawn to history as well. Dan Gutman gets this, and the Baseball Card Adventures is a brilliant series for giving young readers a way into a nuanced US history. In Jackie and Me, the hero, Stosh, is thrown out of Little League for attacking a pitcher who mocked his Polish heritage - “You know you can’t hit me, Stoshack. Because you’re a big, slow, ugly, dumb Polack!” Back at school, Stosh elects to write a book report on Jackie Robinson, and uses his magical baseball card to travel back in time. Stosh experiences Robinson’s first Major League game and the breaking of the color bar in baseball, finding a new perspective on difference and discrimination. Gutman writes colorful dialogue that kids really respond to, and…

By Dan Gutman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jackie & Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

With more than 2 million books sold, the Baseball Card Adventures bring the greatest players in history to life! 

Like every other kid in his class, Joe Stoshack has to write a report on an African American who's made an important contribution to society. Unlike every other kid in his class, Joe has a special talent: with the help of old baseball cards, he can travel through time. So, for his report, Joe decides to go back to meet one of the greatest baseball players ever, Jackie Robinson, to find out what it was like to be the man who…


Book cover of Ghost

Jennie Liu Author Of Enly and the Buskin' Blues

From my list on boys for middle graders whose reading is falling off.

Who am I?

My boys greedily consumed books until middle school when screens began to pull them away. I still brought home piles of books, especially stories that stirred empathy, hoping they would pick them up (especially during enforced no-screen times). My then-5th grader complained that I brought home too many “sad books about kids having a really hard time,” and that’s when I realized I was choosing titles I liked and wanted them to read. The novels I had written thus far were heavy stories for teens, but after this little episode with my boy, I decided to pay attention to what they really wanted to read. And to write one they might like.  

Jennie's book list on boys for middle graders whose reading is falling off

Jennie Liu Why did Jennie love this book?

Although Ghost is heavy on hardship (angry kid, incarcerated father), and a struggle story for sure, it’s such a tight, fast-paced one with a voice that you can’t help but fall right into the narrative.

Add to that sports (track), bad choices (stealing shoes), and all the intense emotions of a seventh-grader, any kid will have a hard time putting it down. 

By Jason Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Running. That's all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons -until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medallist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

READ THE RUN SERIES:
Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for…


Book cover of Beartown

Uri Gatt Author Of Winds of Strife

From my list on morally grey characters.

Who am I?

Growing up in the Middle East, I’ve met all kinds of moral ambiguity. There’s a lot to say about it. How both sides think they’re right, how the ends justify the means and all that. Then there are the consequences. Even the winners often lose things. So I’ve set out to write about grey characters! About people who do bad things for the greater good, and how their life turns up after. And if you like the trope as much as I do, check the recs!

Uri's book list on morally grey characters

Uri Gatt Why did Uri love this book?

If you want a break from fantasy and sci-fi, and you love a book with morally grey characters, then this is it.

Beartown is a town that survives on hockey. The kids play it, the grown-ups work in anything related, and just like in sports, both sides consider themselves the good side in every action they take.

We follow the manager of the hockey club as he must make impossible decisions, then the players, each making their own mistakes. We see villains grow from a place that we can understand, and we see good people making bad calls because no one can be perfect all the time.

And most importantly, we see how sometimes, no choice is the right choice. Especially for the victim.

By Fredrik Backman,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Beartown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FROM THE MULTI-MILLION COPY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF ANXIOUS PEOPLE AND A MAN CALLED OVE, FREDRIK BACKMAN

**NOW A MAJOR HBO TV SERIES**

'I utterly believed in the residents of Beartown and felt ripped apart by the events in the book' JOJO MOYES

'I couldn't put it down. Heart-rending and engrossing' 5***** Reader Review
_________

In a large Swedish forest, Beartown hides a dark secret . . .

Cut-off from everywhere else, it experiences the kind of isolation that tears people apart.

And each year, more and more of the town is swallowed by the forest.

Then the town is offered…


Book cover of The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Bill Lynch Author Of Mekong Belle: Love's Impossible Choice

From my list on time travel on lonely roads.

Who am I?

I grew up in a family of journalists. My great-grandfather, grand-aunt, and father were newspaper editors and master raconteurs. I followed in their footsteps, spending 50 years as a small-town newspaper editor. Among family, friends, and neighbors, I was expected to know the stories behind the headlines, and in so doing, I became a raconteur. In a good story, there is a fine line between fact and fiction. The novels I chose for a long road trip are as believable as the true stories I was told and ended up telling when it was my turn. It only takes asking “What if?” to cross the line from fact to fiction.

Bill's book list on time travel on lonely roads

Bill Lynch Why did Bill love this book?

I’d already bought the book when we decided to drive from our home in Sonoma, California, to visit friends who live in the San Juan Islands off the Washington Coast. I packed the book but also downloaded the Audible version. We started listening as we got on the road. I never opened the book.

It’s just a great story set in the time my parents were in high school and college. It was a world with which I was made familiar by their stories. The main character’s difficult early life resonates with anyone who has listened to the greatest generation talk about what it was like growing up during the Depression.

Yes, the action during the rowing was exciting, but I enjoyed the development of the characters, especially Joe Rantz, and his personal challenges and victories, more than all competition scenes.

By Daniel James Brown,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Boys in the Boat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times-bestselling story about the American Olympic rowing triumph in Nazi Germany-from the author of Facing the Mountain.

Soon to be a major motion picture directed by George Clooney

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times-the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the…


Book cover of Blood Water Paint

Megan E. Freeman Author Of Alone

From my list on to introduce readers to novels in verse.

Who am I?

I am a poet and author living and writing in Northern Colorado. I love reading (and writing) novels in verse because they invite the reader into an active relationship with the author-poet. The story is co-created through mutual trust and imagination: the reader has to trust the author to provide enough language to reveal the narrative, and the author has to trust the reader to fill in details left by the white space on the page. Through this mutual effort and creative collaboration, dazzling stories emerge.

Megan's book list on to introduce readers to novels in verse

Megan E. Freeman Why did Megan love this book?

Joy McCullough’s Blood Water Paint is historical fiction that tells the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, a Renaissance painter who survived a sexual assault and persevered to see her assailant convicted in an Italian court. If the true aspects of the story weren’t compelling enough, McCullough contrasts her fictional character with the biblical heroines Judith and Susanna, using prose and verse strategically to weave the stories with their counter-narratives. McCullough’s experience as a playwright shines through here and her poetic devices are downright Shakespearean, revealing clues to her characters’ emotional truths through the deceptively simple arrangement of words on the page. This book is astonishingly good and a must-read for anyone intrigued by novels in verse.

By Joy McCullough,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Blood Water Paint as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father's paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome's most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the…


Book cover of Out of the Dust

Ann E. Burg Author Of Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown

From my list on historical verse for middle schoolers.

Who am I?

Technology advances, scenery changes, but the human heart remains the same. As a writer, I hope to honor lives unnoticed or forgotten and have found that writing in verse affords me the truest, most uncorrupted pathway into the human heart. Each of the verse novels I’ve written or recommended here is spun from the strongest threads of time, place, and character. My hope is that the spare words within each book will build bridges across time and culture, and that those of us willing to open our hearts and cross these bridges will help create a more tolerant and peaceful world. 

Ann's book list on historical verse for middle schoolers

Ann E. Burg Why did Ann love this book?

Out of the Dust was the first verse novel I read. Set during the Dust Bowl of the thirties, I was drawn into the story from the first page. I loved Billy Jo, the main character, and was impressed by Karen Hesse’s ability to capture, in so few words, the dust, desolation, and difficulty of living in Oklahoma at that time. 

By Karen Hesse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Out of the Dust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Acclaimed author Karen Hesse's Newbery Medal-winning novel-in-verse explores the life of fourteen-year-old Billie Jo growing up in the dust bowls of Oklahoma.

Out of the Dust joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!"Dust piles up like snow across the prairie. . . ."A terrible accident has transformed Billie Jo's life, scarring her inside and out. Her mother is gone. Her father can't talk about it. And the one thing that might make her feel better -- playing the piano -- is impossible with her wounded hands.To make matters worse, dust storms are…


Book cover of Long Way Down

Meg Eden Kuyatt Author Of Good Different

From my list on children’s stories in verse.

Who am I?

I have always straddled between the worlds of fiction and poetry. I received my MFA in poetry in 2016, but during my time in the program, I was often told my poems were too narrative. Sometimes in my fiction workshops in undergrad, I was told my stories were too poetic. So when I finally jumped into the world of verse, I really fell in love with the intersection of poetry and story. Finally, there was a medium that felt “just right!” There are so many fantastic novels in verse out there—with so many more to come—but I hope you’ll enjoy these five favorites of mine!

Meg's book list on children’s stories in verse

Meg Eden Kuyatt Why did Meg love this book?

Long Way Down does an incredible job of telling such a contained story, telling everything within the span of a single elevator ride.

Reynolds uses the elevator trip to make the protagonist encounter ghosts of multiple dead people in his community, all connected to his murdered brother, and question if vengeance is the right answer to his grief. This is a well-deserved classic, and a must-read for all novel-in-verse fans!

By Jason Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Long Way Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

“An intense snapshot of the chain reaction caused by pulling a trigger.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Astonishing.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A tour de force.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A Newbery Honor Book
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
A Printz Honor Book
A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021)
A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Winner for Young Adult Literature
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award
An Edgar Award Winner for Best Young Adult Fiction
Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner
An Entertainment Weekly Best YA Book of…


Book cover of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

Megan E. Freeman Author Of Alone

From my list on to introduce readers to novels in verse.

Who am I?

I am a poet and author living and writing in Northern Colorado. I love reading (and writing) novels in verse because they invite the reader into an active relationship with the author-poet. The story is co-created through mutual trust and imagination: the reader has to trust the author to provide enough language to reveal the narrative, and the author has to trust the reader to fill in details left by the white space on the page. Through this mutual effort and creative collaboration, dazzling stories emerge.

Megan's book list on to introduce readers to novels in verse

Megan E. Freeman Why did Megan love this book?

In Voices, David Elliott uses formal verse to explore the last hours that Joan of Arc lived. Told from multiple points of view, including the voice of the flame that will burn Joan at the stake, Elliott chooses specific poetic forms to reflect fundamental truths about the different characters. All forms of verse in the book were popular during Joan’s actual lifetime, and Elliott provides an interesting author’s note at the back of the book. Aside from being a poetic tour de force, Voices is a true page-turner, and readers will root for Joan to triumph over her enemies, even as they dread the inevitable outcome.

By David Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Voices as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc's life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood), Voices offers an unforgettable perspective on an extraordinary young woman. Along the way it explores timely issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in brothers, twins, and college basketball?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about brothers, twins, and college basketball.

Brothers Explore 100 books about brothers
Twins Explore 64 books about twins
College Basketball Explore 18 books about college basketball