Look Inside Mel Jensen, an African-American boy, is talented enough to be on the basketball team's starting lineup, but two of the white players want to keep him in the background. These are Matt Christopher's best selling novels about sports and the kids who play them. Each story is over 100 pages and is packed with fast paced sports action that include subtle life lessons on sportsmanship, responsibility, and doing the right thing. The larger, more accessible type and redesigned covers will attract and ignite the interest of a new generation of Matt Christopher readers. The quality library paper and guaranteed library binding will keep the books circulating for years.
This revised edition of the original book "The Basket Counts" is a larger sized book and has larger print which makes it easier to read and a better fit. The series is entitled "The New Matt Christopher Sports Library." Mel Jensen is a pretty good basketball player and he has moved to a new town where there are not many black students in the school and on his team. Stoney and Caskie are white players who will not pass the ball to the Hispanic and black players. Mel watches the coach to see if he sees what is happening. As the season progresses, Caskie is benched for his inappropriate behavior. Apparently his whole family has a problem with prejudice. One day, when they are all skating, Stoney falls through the ice and Caskie and Mel save him. This breakthrough, in more ways than one, changes the way Caskie treats his teammates. By the end of the season, he passes to all his teammates and he treats them much better. They are truly an integrated team in the end. Students will enjoy these easy to read books with a moral.
Garland Independent School District
Christopher has satisfied the sports-hungry reader for years. In this reissue of a 1968 saga, the middle school basketball team, Titans, must master not only the court moves, but also racial harmony. Our main character, Mel Jensen, is an African American who recently moved in to town. His father is a dentist. The Jensens are one of the few non-white families in town. While the book has plenty of play-by-play action, the real tension is the racial rift between Mel and his classmate Earl Stone. Earl happens to be the Titans’ other star player. While the boys are part of a bigger picture, and the racial tensions are seen elsewhere as Earl’s mother refuses to use Mel’s father as her dentist, most of the rest of the town is welcoming to the family. Mel starts to retaliate after Earl’s performance on the court makes it clear that he has little regard for Mel. However, Mel stops himself and finally listens to his father’s advice to ignore Earl. This is the turning point for Mel, who no longer measures his own worth by the words that Earl says, and a turning point for Earl, who comes to terms with his own bullying behavior. While written in 1968, the story has been updated to include modern references, and the behavior of the boys, and the whole neighborhood, is still relevant to today’s basketball-hungry young readers.