Booked By: Kwame Alexander
Genre: Fiction – Poetry/Verse
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – Boston MA, April 5th, 2016
Awards: There are no awards currently for this work. However, Kwame Alexander is also the author of the Newberry Medal Winner and Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner the Crossover.
Themes and Topics: Booked is a powerful story that does not only cover the game of soccer. This title goes much deeper to discuss and show the power of language as it resides in a middle schoolers world. As the main character, Nick Hall, discovers and experiences the usual teen struggles – love, friendship, and bullying – Alexander also discusses the concepts of separation/divorce and finding ones self.
Summary: The love of soccer helps the main character of this title, Nick Hall, be free. As he plays there are no worries, no fears, nothing to hold him back. However, as he struggles with friends, a girl he comes to adore, bullies, and the separation of his parents soccer no longer helps him. He finds another way to freedom: words. His father, makes Nick read a dictionary as a chore. Nick starts by hating the task, just as you would hate taking out the trash. However, Nick comes to love the power of knowing what to say, how to say, and when to say the right things as language becomes his new form of freedom.
Response: What was the main problem that the main character faces? How is this problem similar to a problem that most children have faced before? In what way could elementary children relate to this character?
The main problem the main character, Nick, faces is one that many upper elementary/middle schoolers experience. Nick’s life is turned upside down and up again on multiple occasions as he attempts to understand his own love interest, and the diminishing love between his parents. Using soccer as an outlet, as many children in this age range would use an activity to forget the struggles of their everyday life, he attempts to find the answers to questions that do not necessarily have them. Many children go through these very same experiences within themselves and with adults in their lives. Children experience the “coming and going” of adult figures all too much. As well, they begin to develop the idea of liking and loving someone. Nick, is a very relatable character to many students within the upper elementary and middle school grades. Nick experiences the same obstacles many children face and shows his own feelings through out the text, making it all more relatable to other children going through the same struggles.