Swish! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Don Tate

Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Swish! by Suzanne Slade | Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Book Trailer Reveal: SWISH! THE SLAM-DUNKING, ALLEY-OOPING, HIGH-FLYING  HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS by Don Tate (illustrator) and Suzanne Slade (author) |  Nerdy Book Club

Summary:  In 1922,when Chicago’s Wendell Phillips High School basketball team won the division championship, they knew they were some of the best players in the country.  Because they were black, though, they were shut out from the top professional teams.  A group of them was recruited by Abe Saperstein for his new New York Harlem Globetrotters team.  They travelled around the country, playing whatever teams towns could put together, and usually beating them.  To take away the sting of being so dominant on the court, the group started adding tricks and jokes to the games.  Crowds loved them, but they often couldn’t stay in the local hotels or eat in the restaurants.  To prove their equality with white players, the Globetrotters challenged the 1948 Minnesota Lakers team to a game, and beat them, 61-59, repeating the feat a year later to show it wasn’t a fluke.  With NBA ticket sales down and the Globetrotters playing to sold-out crowds, owners had little choice but to start integrating their teams.  The Globetrotters, who have been named America’s Ambassadors of Goodwill, continue traveling around the world, delighting fans with their own special brand of basketball.  Includes additional information, an artist’s note, a list of sources, a timeline, and photos.  40 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  Sports fans will love this story of the Globetrotters.  The text is accessible for primary grades, and the illustrations provide plenty of action and laughs.  The backmatter adds to the value for research.

Cons:  Although the timeline is great, it would have been nice to have some dates in the story itself to place it in historical context.  I remember the Globetrotters from my childhood, but didn’t know they had been around for almost 100 years.

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