How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball
Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, 2013. 40 pages.
Hoop Genius is a simple picture book about the invention of basketball. The story it tells is pretty much summed up in the subtitle: James Naismith was a desperate teacher who’d taken on a gym class that had already forced two teachers to quit. But the author and illustrator dramatize that story in an exciting way (showing the young men in the class with progressively more injuries, for example). Then they show where Naismith got the idea (from a childhood game) and how he worked out the rules with his class. Then briefly, we’re shown how basketball took off. (James Naismith met his wife when she played in a women’s game he refereed.)
I love the endpapers – with copies of the first draft of the rules of basketball.
The story’s simple, but so interesting! This marvelous presentation of the story of how Basketball began will captivate readers of all ages.