Gift Book Review: Hoop Genius

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

By John Coy, illustrated by Joe Morse

Age: 5+

Genre: Nonfiction picture book

When teacher James Naismith took over a gym class of rowdy boys in 1891, it seemed like nothing could get them under control. He tried indoor football, soccer and even lacrosse – but all were too rough. He needed to get the boys to stop fighting. That’s when he came up with a game that involved no tackling, no running with the ball and very little touching.

Using a soccer ball and a peach basket, Mr. Naismith invented basketball, finally getting his gym class to stop hurting each other and changing the world of sports forever. Author John Coy has presented a very easy-to-read summary of the birth of this great game. Young readers could likely relate to the rough-and-tumble gym class that had grown bored with every usual activity, and this book could even inspire readers to create their own games. Joe Morse’s illustrations lend an old-fashioned charm to the story suitable for the time period in which it takes place. Hoop Genius would be a great addition to any library or classroom collection.

Bucks County mom Jean Ladden spends way more time reading children's books than adult books, and that's just the way she likes it. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Chatham University and is currently raising a 1-year-old, working part-time at a neighborhood library and freelance writing. She loves to share new books as well as old via her blog, Jean's Book Reviews.

Categories: MomSpeak