Age: Picture Book (5 years and up)
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.
Coy, John. Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2013.