Monday, March 11, 2013

Review of 'Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball'


Taking over a rowdy gym class right before winter vacation is not something James Naismith wants to do at all. The last two teachers of this class quit in frustration. The students—a bunch of energetic young men—are bored with all the regular games and activities. Naismith needs something new, exciting, and fast to keep the class happy—or someone's going to get hurt. Saving this class is going to take a genius. Discover the true story of how Naismith invented basketball in 1891 at a school in Springfield, Massachusetts.

**My thoughts**

I enjoyed reading this book, because I never really knew the history behind the game of basketball. I knew it had originally been played with peach baskets and was invented by a teacher. I was amused at how this book shows the innovation of a teacher who is desperate to corral a bunch of rowdy students, especially because I am a teacher. I also liked how it demonstrated the trial and error involved in creating the game. I think it is important for kids to realize that great things don't necessarily happen without a lot of experimentation and perseverance until you get it right.

The illustrations amused me, as they are reminiscent of an older style of drawing. I got a kick out of how the players become increasingly injured as the story goes on, as Naismith kept trying out new ideas. The history buff in me loves seeing the original typewritten rules, as well. While it mentions how basketball evolved to the sport that it is today, it doesn't dwell on the current game. Some may think of this as a downfall. I like that it stays true to its title. Interested children may be inspired to research more about it.

I think this book will appeal to kids in kindergarten or lower elementary and up.

I received a review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions.

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