Game Changer
Find it at your library or you can ...
John Coy
author, John Coy
author's website
Carolrhoda Books
North Carolina
Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game

When they piled into cars and drove through Durham, North Carolina, the members of the Duke University Medical School basketball team only knew that they were going somewhere to play basketball. They didn't know whom they would play against. But when they came face to face with their opponents, they quickly realized this secret game was going to make history. 

Discover the true story of how in 1944, Coach John McLendon orchestrated a secret game between the best players from a white college and his team from the North Carolina College of Negroes. At a time of widespread segregation and rampant racism, this illegal gathering changed the sport of basketball forever.

1.   How do you pick your teams for basketball? And how do you decide who's going to play which position? Do you have a coach? Or is it a pick-up game?
2.   Did you already know there was a time when it was illegal to play a basketball game with Caucasian players and African American players on the same court? How did these laws change?
3.   Why do you think Coach John McLendon arranged for this secret game? He knew it was illegal. Why do you think he took the risk?
4.   If a secret basketball game were played today, who do you think would be on the opposing teams? And why?
5.   Are there barriers in your life that you would like to see taken away? What could you do to make that happen?
When your child has finished reading Game Changer, be sure to check off this book on your booklist, moving towards reading 12 books or 18 books this summer. You can register for a mile marker, our random drawing for several levels of giveaways.

Hoop GeniusFor further reading, try John Coy's book, Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball.

In this book, John Coy tells the true story of James Naismith and his clever invention of a game that would capture his boys' attention in a gym class that made other teachers quit. It takes place in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. That means basketball has been played in America for more than 100 years!

After you've read both books, talk about the illustrations by Randy DuBurke and Joe Morse. How are they different? How are they the same? How do they make you feel about what you've learned from each book?

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