10 books like The Crossover

By Kwame Alexander,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Crossover. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Neymar

By Tom Oldfield, Matt Oldfield,

Book cover of Neymar: From the Playground to the Pitch

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.…

Neymar

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.

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…

Roller Girl

By Victoria Jamieson,

Book cover of Roller Girl

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. 

Roller Girl

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.

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…

Jackie & Me

By Dan Gutman,

Book cover of Jackie & Me

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…

Jackie & Me

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.

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…


Ghost, Volume 1

By Jason Reynolds,

Book cover of Ghost, Volume 1

Eleven-year-old Castle Crenshaw, the protagonist of Ghost, reminds me a lot of my protagonist Solo Hahn in Avenging the Owl. Both boys “have a lot of scream inside.” Castle suffers from PTSD because he’s witnessed so many fights between his parents. His family has one heck of a total meltdown when his father threatens to shoot him and his mother, and they have to hide in a convenience store. Castle finds adult mentors and begins to run track, which helps him to deal with anxiety and depression. Running cross-country and track saved me, as well; I still run half-marathons today. I love the messages going on in this book about the importance of finding trustworthy mentors, and the equal importance of honoring a passion such as running. 

Ghost, Volume 1

By Jason Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ghost, Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

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…

Beartown

By Fredrik Backman,

Book cover of Beartown

You could describe Fredrik Backman’s Beartown as the story of a broken Swedish forest town whose fate is tied to the success of a kids’ hockey team. This is accurate but woefully incomplete. In fact, I’m confident you’ll feel all the anger, empathy, and tenderness Backman has woven into a sports story that transcends pucks and goals. You will be ushered forward and backward in time. You’ll feel carried ahead even as the author freezes moments that deliver depth and perspective. The pivotal event will make your heart race. And in the end, you will wind up missing the people you come to meet and know in Beartown

Beartown

By Fredrik Backman,

Why should I read it?

5 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…


The Boys in the Boat

By Daniel James Brown,

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

It’s been years since I read this book, but I remember vividly the thrill of this unlikely crew of kids from working-class families in Washington state shocking Hitler by beating his rowing team on his home turf at the Olympics, an extravaganza designed to display German superiority. Add to that, the nine-man crew’s earlier upset victories against the American Ivy League teams that dominated one of the most popular American sports in the days before television, and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful underdog-come-from-behind story. Which it is, in the hands of this author, and is why I’m recommending two books by him. Brown builds drama by explaining who these kids were, the daunting personal challenges some of them faced, and how, in the hands of the right coaches and a talented boat-builder, these “nobodies” became world champions.

The Boys in the Boat

By Daniel James Brown,

Why should I read it?

3 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…

Blood Water Paint

By Joy McCullough,

Book cover of Blood Water Paint

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.

Blood Water Paint

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.

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…

Out of the Dust

By Karen Hesse,

Book cover of Out of the Dust

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. 

Out of the Dust

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.

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…

Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds,

Book cover of Long Way Down

The reason I’m recommending the graphic version of this story is that, as a teacher of students with dyslexia, I believe it is critical to validate storytelling in all its forms. Visual stories remove barriers and make reading more equitable.

Long Way Down opens with, Will, finding his brother, Shawn, shot dead. Shawn had ventured into a rival gang’s territory in order to buy his mother’s eczema cream. Will rushes home, grabs his brother’s gun, and heads to the elevator. Shawn is following the three rules of his hood: do not cry, do not snitch, take revenge when a loved one is killed. However, his elevator ride takes an unexpected turn when it stops on each floor to let in ghosts of people who died due to gun violence.

Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Long Way Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

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…

Voices

By David Elliott,

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

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.

Voices

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.

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