Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters

by Suzanne Slade (Author) Don Tate (Illustrator)

Swish!: The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The true story of the high-flying Harlem Globetrotters -- the team that changed basketball forever.

In this book you will find one-finger ball-spinning, rapid-fire mini-dribbling, and a ricochet head shot! You will find skilled athletes, expert players, and electrifying performers -- all rolled into one!

You will find nonstop, give-it-all-you've-got, out-to-win-it, sky's-the-limit BASKETBALL! You will find The Harlem Globetrotters, who played the most groundbreaking, breathtaking ball the world had ever seen. With rhythmic writing and dynamic illustrations, Swish! is a celebration of the greatness, goodness, and grit of this remarkable team.

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Publishers Weekly

After Black members of a 1922 championship high school team from Chicago's South Side are barred from competing at the next level, they band together in this true story. In 1927, the team that will become the Harlem Globetrotters takes to the road in a Model T, picking up games with "anyone who would play," despite being turned away from hotels and eateries. When locals resent the team beating home players, the Globetrotters develop their now-trademark tricks and footwork to win crowds over. Tate's dynamic digital pictures capture the players' perseverance as they prove instrumental in integrating pro basketball and score legions of fans, and a comprehensive timeline rounds out the book. Though the text at points glosses over racial discrimination ("hometown fans didn't like out-of-town hotshots skunking their team"), this is an enthusiastic tribute to a groundbreaking team. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 4--With their "fancy footwork, fast passes, and one-handed dunk shots," the Harlem Globetrotters were known for putting on an entertaining show. Their history, however, shows how the Globetrotters played a significant role in the development of professional basketball. The original founders were a group of African American high school basketball players from the South Side of Chicago. The team played their first game in 1927. They traveled around the country playing against hometown or other touring teams, both Black and white. The Great Depression made it hard for the team to earn money until they added ball-handling tricks and theatrical moves to their game. They were accomplished players, but these special elements attracted paying customers. Although they presented a lighthearted presence on the court, the team encountered discrimination in many of the towns they visited and were barred from local hotels and restaurants designated "whites only." When new professional leagues began forming in the late 1940s, Black players initially were not recruited, even as the Globetrotters were a hit at Madison Square Garden. In 1950, Harlem Globetrotter Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton was one of the first African American men signed to the NBA. The Globetrotters began to live up to their name, playing exhibition games in many countries and across the United States. Digital illustrations and archival photographs capture the team's energy and sense of fun. The players' quick movements and the constant ball action are expertly represented by Tate's dynamic cartoon-style spreads. VERDICT This well-researched, accessible picture book makes this story bounce off the page.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's Sch., Richmond, VA

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
November 20, 2020
BISAC categories
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF053140 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Topics | Prejudice & Racism
JNF025210 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/20th Century
JNF007100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
JNF054020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Basketball
Library of Congress categories
United States
Discrimination in sports
Basketball players
African American basketball players
National Basketball Association
Harlem Globetrotters
Texas Bluebonnet Master List
2022 - 2023

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