Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters By Suzanne Slade & Don Tate

Back of Book:

In this book, you will find one-finger ball-spinning, rapid-fire mini-dribbling, and a ricochet headshot! You will find skilled athletes, expert players, and electrifying performers — all rolled into one! You will find nonstop, give-it-all-you’ve-got, out-to-win-it, sky’s-the-limit BASKETBALL! You will find The Harlem Globetrotters, who played the most groundbreaking, breathtaking ball the world had ever seen. With rhythmic writing and dynamic illustrations, Swish! is a celebration of the greatness, goodness, and grit of this remarkable team.

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from Little Brown Books in exchange for an honest review. 

“Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters” by Suzanne Slade is a fun and informative look at the basketball team that became world-famous for putting on a show. 

The text tells readers the amazing true story of how the players became a team and started their careers. The players squeezed into an Old Model T and went from town to town playing seven nights a week. When hometown fans became upset because their teams were losing, the Trotters came up with the idea of performing a trick in the middle of the game. The idea worked, and soon the players were being cheered during their games. Sadly, segregation made it difficult for the players to find places to eat, sleep, and even use the restroom. Downhearted yet determined, the Trotters fought even harder to be amazing on the court. With their slapstick tricks and pinpoint shots, the Trotters game quickly became known as “The Show.” The team’s perseverance paid off and the players were adopted into the NBA, traveling the world and playing basketball. When they returned home, the Harlem Globetrotters were named “America’s Ambassadors of Goodwill,” an example of how a game could bring the world a little closer together.  

Suzanne has once again created a fantastic nonfiction narrative that is engaging and informational. Changes in text color put emphasis on keywords and the names of the players, which allows readers to focus on the important historical aspects of the story. The illustrations by Don Tate are incredible! His use of movement gives readers a glimpse into how the games were played. The back of the book has more information about the Trotters, as well as an artist’s note on how Don created the illustrations. The book also has a timeline that follows the careers of the Trotters and how they evolved. 

Swish is a vibrant and uplifting book that beautifully shows how the love, passion, and determination of a small group of incredibly talented black Americans helped challenge, and ultimately eliminate, the racial divide that existed in one of America’s most popular sports. 

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages 

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