Alexander Kwame uses rhyme and rap to entice and engage the reader. The poems in this collection are medium in length, entertaining and speak to children in a way they are likely to relate. Most of the passages in The Crossover are about events that can happen in a child’s life; such as relationships with friends and family, basketball action on the court, middle school, race, sickness, and death. In “Girls,” the author shares a moment between his friend, a girl, and how his friend takes notice of her. This poem is a representation of the author’s ability to speak to middle school students (mostly boys), allowing them to relate with the author.
The author uses a variety of unique rhythms in his book. Some of the poems make you think of a basketball dribbling up and down as you read the words on the page. The author writes in free verse; this poetry is without a specific rhyme pattern or strict rhythm. He also uses concrete poetry to assist in his actions of words within the poems, helping readers to see the action in a book with no pictures.
The author uses onomatopoeias to describe the sounds and the actions of the basketball and the basketball players on the court; as well as the sounds he hears in his daily activities. Alexander has a great way of making the reader feel that he is talking to you and you are right there with him during these activities. He also uses hyperboles to create emphasis on a specific scenario or action. In “Okay, Dad,” he says, “Mom and JB have been talking your ear off all morning.” Exaggerating this specific situation tells us readers that these two were talking a lot towards another.
Alexander uses poetic-hip-hop to bring motion into his words, allowing his poetry to bounce off the page. His stories are short, to the point, and very relatable to today’s middle school boy. The themes of The Crossover are relationships, consequences of actions, coping with illness and dealing with death.
This book rates five out of five. I genuinely loved each poem and it is so very easy to read. I believe that boy or girl in my future upper elementary class that loves basketball and is hesitant to read, especially poetry, will love this book!
Until next time …