Dragon Hoops
Dragon Hoops

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Annotation: An introverted reader starts understanding local enthusiasm about sports in his school when he gets to know some of his talented athletic peers and discovers that their stories are just as thrilling as the comics he loves. In his latest graphic novel, author Gene Luen Yang turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the high school where he teaches.
Catalog Number: #209593
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 445 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-626-72079-7 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-7510-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-626-72079-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-7510-6
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2018953556
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Color by Lark Pien. Art assists by Rianne Meyers and Kolbe Yang. "I'm just not a sports kind of guy," begins Yang in this comics-format offering that brilliantly combines journalism, memoir, and sports history. Yang, who taught math at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, California, during the events of the book, provides readers with an inside look at the school's elite basketball team's season as it attempted to win the California State Championship in 2015. Weaving the details of that team's efforts with a primer on the history of basketball, Yang skillfully juggles the stories of multiple players and coaches as well as his own journey from basketball novice to avid fan. In the appended notes, Yang explains his art and narrative choices chapter-by-chapter with page and panel notations, from the sneakers and the hairstyles of the individual players to times when certain conversations happened differently than depicted. While the action on the court is absolutely transfixing (with page layouts often using trapezoid-shaped panels whose diagonal lines amp up the dynamism), the story shines just as brightly off the court when Yang's focus shifts to his own dilemmas and profound insights regarding art and storytelling. Single-season reportage is a popular subgenre of sports writing in the adult publishing world (try In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle for a basketball classic), and here is a perfect entryway into this form for teen readers. A bibliography is also appended.
Kirkus Reviews
The trials of a high school basketball team trying to clinch the state title and the graphic novelist chronicling them.The Dragons, Bishop O'Dowd High School's basketball team, have a promising lineup of players united by the same goal. Backed by Coach Lou Richie, an alumnus himself, this could be the season the Oakland, California, private Catholic school breaks their record. While Yang (Team Avatar Tales, 2019, etc.), a math teacher and former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is not particularly sporty, he is intrigued by the potential of this story and decides to focus his next graphic novel on the team's ninth bid for the state championship. Yang seamlessly blends a portrait of the Dragons with the international history of basketball while also tying in his own career arc as a graphic novelist as he tries to balance family, teaching, and comics. Some panels directly address the creative process, such as those depicting an interaction between Yang and a Punjabi student regarding the way small visual details cue ethnicity in different ways. This creative combination of memoir and reportage elicits questions of storytelling, memory, and creative liberty as well as addressing issues of equity and race. The full-color illustrations are varied in layout, effectively conveying intense emotion and heart-stopping action on the court. Yang is Chinese American, Richie is black, and there is significant diversity among the team members.A winner. (notes, bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 13-18)
Publishers Weekly
As a comic book enthusiast and graphic novelist, Printz Medalist Yang has always been more partial to superheroes than to sports. But in 2014, as a teacher at a Catholic high school in Oakland, Calif., Yang is drawn to a story about the school-s basketball team-the Dragons. Rumor has it that under the current coach, a former player at the school, this year-s team will surely grab the state championship. Shadowing the group for an entire season, Yang interviews players and coaches to uncover the talented students- stories and the program-s allegedly shadowed past. Using documentary-style storytelling, Yang serves as both narrator and a character, alternating player backstories and the Dragons- 2014 season with interstitials about the sport-s beginnings and early tensions, historical and present-day discrimination (Black Lives Matter, Sikh persecution following the partition of India), and Yang-s own work-life balance. Using a candid narrative and signature illustrations that effectively and dynamically bring the fast-paced games to life, Yang has crafted a triumphant, telescopic graphic memoir that explores the effects of legacy and the power of taking a single first step, no matter the outcome. Ages 14-up. (Mar.)-

Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* There's a line between sports and American comics that is seldom crossed. Leave it to Yang to take the crucial step, capturing not only the excitement of basketball but something deep and universal about it, even as he parallels it with his own journey. Yang teaches at California's Bishop O'Dowd High School, home to the Dragons, a basketball team with a hallowed and, as it turns out, complicated history. Over and over again, the team almost wins State. Pursuing material for his next graphic novel, Yang surprises himself by latching onto the team and its long-time coach, Lou Richie. Yang traces the team's high-stakes season through the players but also delves into the history of basketball itself, touching on the sociopolitical forces that shaped it and no surprise for Yang's readers e way race figures into both. Yang is an extraordinary cartoonist; his clean, clear, deceptively simple figures and compositions transmit emotions both subtle and powerful. Combining visual flair, like speeding backgrounds, with nearly diagrammatic movement, he creates pulse-pounding game sequences. Most important, through recurring visual motifs that connect a champion basketball player to a self-questioning artist to a Russian immigrant with a new idea, he illuminates the risks that every one of us must take and has, once again, produced a work of resounding humanity.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Seven years after best-selling, award-winning Yang's last release as both author and artist, his return is getting a big push, including a national author tour. Expect some March Madness around this one.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 445-[446]).
Word Count: 24,027
Reading Level: 3.9
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.9 / points: 3.0 / quiz: 507211 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: HL550L

In his latest graphic novel, Dragon Hoops , New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the high school where he teaches. Gene understands stories--comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins. But Gene doesn't get sports. As a kid, his friends called him "Stick" and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it's all anyone can talk about. The men's varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that's been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships. Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he's seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn't know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons's lives, but his own life as well.

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