Sports-Centric Picks for 'Crossover' Fans | Read-Alikes

Middle grade books about sports, family, and friendship for kids watching the Disney+ series based on Kwame Alexander's Newbery-winning novel. 

The Crossover. TV-Y7. Disney+. Now streaming.

In this series adaptation of the Newbery-winning verse novel by Kwame Alexander, Black brothers come of age on and off the ­basketball court. Daveed Diggs, Jalyn Hall, and Amir O’Neil star.


Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros. Quill Tree. 2022.
Gr 4-7 –Straight-A student Marco and basketball star Isaac are best friends and opposites who vow to help each other get their parents’ approval this year. This affirming story of Latinx sixth graders will appeal to readers looking for a heartfelt story that blends sports, family life, and friendship.

Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes. Bloomsbury. 2011.
Gr 5-8 –Black 12-year-old basketball player Joylin comes of age in this character-driven novel in verse. Readers seeking a story that combines sports and everyday life with the angst of figuring out middle school life will appreciate this read.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Atheneum. 2016.
Gr 5-8 –When Black tween Ghost Cranshaw joins a track team in his neighborhood, he discovers what it means to be part of a team in this poignant novel. The book’s sports action and intense emotion makes this a perfect pick for Crossover fans.

Abby Johnson is the collection development leader at the Floyd County Library in New Albany, IN.

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