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The Real Slam Dunk

by Charisse Richardson
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Published by Dial, 2005
80 pages
ISBN: 0-8037-3050-0

Ages 6-9

Two short novels for independent readers feature African American twins Mia and Marcus Robinson. Marcus loves basketball and math. Mia’s newspaper, Mia’s World, is one of her favorite expressive outlets. In The Real Slam Dunk, Marcus and Mia get the opportunity to meet an NBA basketball star. Marcus wants to play in the NBA someday and can’t wait to talk to Jason Carter. Much to his surprise, Jason challenges him on his plans for the future. “Lots of great players tried out for the Giants this year. But only four were picked . . . What if you don’t become a pro basketball player?” Jason, it turns out, has not given up his interest in chemistry and still thinks of pursuing it as a career after basketball. He encourages Marcus to pursue his interest in math along with his basketball dreams. In The Real Lucky Charm Mia faces challenges both on and off the basketball court after she and Marcus end up playing together on a co-ed team. She’s pretty good for a new player, sometimes even outshining her brother, but she’s convinced it’s due more to her lucky bracelet than skill. When she loses her bracelet, her game falls apart and she quits, disappointing her coach and teammates until she finds the courage to return. Occasional black-and-white illustrations are included in each of these stories, which feature two likeable elementary-age characters and enough high-interest, kid-friendly action to make the overt positive messages easy to take.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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