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Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball
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Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  843 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Taking over a rowdy gym class right before winter vacation is not something James Naismith wants to do at all. The last two teachers of this class quit in frustration. The students--a bunch of energetic young men--are bored with all the regular games and activities. Naismith needs something new, exciting, and fast to keep the class happy...or someone's going to get hurt. H ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Carolrhoda Books (R) (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Start your review of Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball
Read aloud to 1st-2nd grades
Read aloud and reread aloud as mentor text for writing research 3rd-5th grades

Hoop Genius is a narrative about how basketball came to be - a gym teacher was trying to figure out how to engage a rambunctious group of young men in a game indoors. In simple prose, Coy tells the story of James Naismith who was trying to solve a problem - many athletic sports in 1891 (soccer, football, etc) were not appropriate for indoors when he came up with the idea (and rules) of a ba
Michelle Haseltine
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!!! I'm from Springfield, MA so this story is personally important to me. I will definitely read this to my sixth graders!
Dec 07, 2014 added it
Shelves: lis7210, childrens

Sometimes I wonder why books like Locomotive and this one are considered children's books. People of all ages would benefit from history picture books.

The mustaches.
This book is a very short story about why basketball was invented. It would make a good book to carry with me for those times when I am subbing and have some extra time for a read-aloud. There are two things about the book, though, that leave me a bit unsatisfied.

First of all, the rules that Naismith came up with are included on the fly leafs (leaves?), but they are not part of the text of the story. It would have been interesting to me to have them included in the story - and the reason those s
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ah, basketball! The popular sport that consumes the imaginations of many for months at a time, even to the point that the whole month of March is dedicated to the removal of teams as they march toward the national championship is the focus of this delightful picture book. But it wasn't always so! Most sports fans already know that James Naismith "invented" the sport of basketball, relying on two peach baskets into which the balls would be thrown. But what they may not know is the rest of the sto ...more
I enjoy high school and college basketball. There was not one thing I liked about this title. There was really not enough information about the beginnings of basketball. The language was stilted and the illustrations were very unappealing--almost scary.
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informational
Love this book! It may be just because I love basketball, but I enjoy incorporating a true story in a fun way. The illustrations made the information given by this book come to life.
Great overview of how/why basketball was invented. Would be great to use in a gym class to kick off a basketball unit!
Jim Erekson
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Morse's illustrations are mesmerizing. I looked and relooked at the wildly exagerrated figure drawings of the gym class. The crowded compositions ensure overlapping of huge hands, lanky arms and too-long necks, and mustachioed heads. The feeling of chaos told about in the text is told much further and better in the pictures. It's one of the few complementary illustration sets I've read in the past weeks (the complementary relationship to the text is true for many, but not all of the pictures). M ...more
I received an electronic ARC through NetGalley.

I loved this nonfiction picture book about the invention of basketball. James Naismith takes over a gym class that is so rowdy that it has caused two teachers to quit. The class does not like the typical indoor gym activities of the time (1891), so Naismith tries indoor football, soccer, and lacrosse. The students are so rough there are many injuries.

Naismith has to come up with something that can be played indoors and does not promote contact betw
Christy Cryer
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Twin Text: Levi Strauss Gets a New Pair of Pants: A Fairly Fabricated Story of a Pair of Pants by Tony Johnston, 2011

Rationale: In Hoop Genius, we learn that James Naismith had a big problem with an especially rowdy gym class he was teaching. As he tried to come up with an activity that would be less rough than the standard games of football, soccer, and lacrosse but still be engaging, he invented basketball. Levi Strauss also came across a problem that needed to be solved. Both stories offer ex
Sharon Lawler
The Springfield MA gym class had already forced two teachers to quit, and James Naismith really didn’t want to take the job of teaching this group, but he accepted. The young men had no interest in calisthenics or gymnastics, so Naismith tried indoor versions of football, soccer, and lacrosse. These were exciting enough, but the illustrations imply that they incurred many injuries. Naismith needed something totally new and he decided to try one more experiment. His new game was influenced by the ...more
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book, because I never really knew the history behind the game of basketball. I knew it had originally been played with peach baskets and was invented by a teacher. I was amused at how this book shows the innovation of a teacher who is desperate to corral a bunch of rowdy students, especially because I am a teacher. I also liked how it demonstrated the trial and error involved in creating the game. I think it is important for kids to realize that great things don't necessar ...more
Sharon Dillon
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Week 8 Historical Fiction Picture Book
The story takes place in 1891 about a teacher, James Naismith, took over a rowdy gym class that no one wanted to teach. To get the students attention, he tried football (too rough), indoor soccer (too rough), lacrosse (too rough) and nothing seemed to work. He needed a game that involved no tacking, no running with a ball. Basketball was invented and the students all eagerly wanted to play and because of not wanting to foul and sit out, it was not too rough.
Hoop Genius has provided me with a hook to grab the attention of students whose attention I don't always manage to grab. The story of James Naismith and his efforts to get the interest of his own rowdy group (who had already managed to run off two other teachers) is presented with few words, dry humor, bold and subtly funny illustrations (see if your students notice the increasing numbers of bandages with each failed "experiment"). Aside from being an interesting story in and of itself, this boo ...more
Kevin Alexander
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sports History

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While the audience for this book was undoubtedly children. I learned a lot from this book about the genesis of Basketball
Melyssa LeDay
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent little story about Naismith and fun to use for March Madness intro. Great author notes and bibliography. I especially love the illustrations since you can talk about the artist rendering of large hands with basketball. I use it with 6th graders as a foundation to explain how our book March Madness works.
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was an interesting and entertaining book based on the true history of basketball. Colorful illustrations depict physical education in the late 1800's. A fantastic biography for children, this would be a great book to use in the classroom to talk about basketball or even the general concept of inventions.
Tori Crumrine
Illustrations look like they are done in a paint and colored pencil or pen.

This nonfiction book is about why and how basketball was invented.

The end pages depict the first draft of the game of basketball, which is super cool. This is definitely a non fiction book rather than informational because everything is accurately depicted.
Spencer Jones
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book because it shows how my favorite sport was created! I always knew that it was created by James Naismith during a gym class but I did not know he created it so his class would not be so rowdy and to try something new and exciting. This book is non fiction and in the 2nd-4th grade range
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ages 7-11
This illustrated book shows in a simplistic and accessible way how the game of basketball was invented by James Naismith. This is a great, quick read-aloud story to share of how basketball came to be.
Stacey Kahler
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bes-june
James had a problem and to solve it, he created a game! What a great person to highlight when you are talking about STEM and actively trying to solve problems. The story was great, but the pictures were not my cup of tea.
Mrs. Tongate
Great picture book for grades 2-12 during Basketball Season to know the history of basketball. UK fans can bring in that Anthony Davis won the Naismith Award as a freshman and the only UK player to ever do so.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was so much fun to read how basketball was invented. Kids will love this book and they will learn the rules of "Duck on a Rock" as well as basketball.

The illustrations are fabulous - kudos Joe Morse!
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
James Naismith is teaching a rowdy class. The rowdy class was all men so they didn't like boring exercises like gymnastics. He wanted to try something fun. He tried football, soccer and lacrosse. They weren't good enough. So he remebered in his childhood that he made a game called duck on a rock.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It was an interesting, quick read. I love basketball, and I was left wanting more. I would have loved more information on the acceptance into the Olympics. I'm not sure exactly how it will play with the kids, be we shall see.
Cheryl Gladfelter
3.5 stars. I'm not a sports person but I thought this was a fun picture book about how basketball got started. I also really liked the retro illustrations and styles in the book, but I'm not sure how kids would like it.

My favorite part is when the women teachers want to play and Naismith agrees.
Matteo S
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great true story. This is a fun learning book. I learned so many new facts about how basketball was made. If you are interested in learning how this great sport was created, you would want to read this book. Hope you enjoy it!!!
Lindsaye Williamson Childs
I wasn't sure what to expect by reading this book but it really suprised. I never knew the true history of basketball. I think the students will be able to relate to a teacher trying to control and entertain an energetic class. Most of the students enjoy sports so they will love this story.
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John Coy is the author of young adult novels, the 4 for 4 middle-grade series, and fiction and nonfiction picture books. John has received numerous awards for his work including a Marion Vannett Ridgway Award for best first picture book, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Bank Street College Best Book of the Year, Notable Book for a Global Society, and the Burr/Warzalla Award for Distinguished Achieveme ...more

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