Skip to main content

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life

Review

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life

Written by Kwame Alexander with photos by Thai Neave

Newbery Award-winner Kwame Alexander, known for such hits as THE CROSSOVER and BOOKED, has once again achieved the perfect balance of poetry and prose in THE PLAYBOOK. In this short, yet powerful book, Alexander takes a close look at helpful rules for basketball, as well as short snippets of biographical and autobiographical stories, and takes their meanings off the court to inspire young readers to act with passion, dedication and faith.

To start this review, let me say that if you, like me, are not the most athletic bookworm in the bunch, have no fear! Alexander’s selections are not only relatable in numerous circumstances, but also easily digestible for readers of all different ages (and fitness levels).

"Although THE PLAYBOOK is so short that you may just miss it on your shelf, it is not to be ignored. Perfect for reluctant or busy readers, these bite-size, quick chapters do more to encourage young readers than many longer books could dream of doing."

Written in a series of sections that mimic the periods of a basketball game (from warm-ups to overtime), THE PLAYBOOK combines powerful quotes and general rules with more introspective stories from famous athletes, coaches and Kwame himself. Each section begins with a passage by Alexander, describing a time in his life when he faced fear, failure or some other obstacle, and how he made it to the other side. Following Alexander’s segment, each section continues with quotes and rules that teach the reader something valuable about playing with passion and dedication, while encouraging a sort of universal team effort mentality. 

Although THE PLAYBOOK is so short that you may just miss it on your shelf, it is not to be ignored. Perfect for reluctant or busy readers, these bite-size, quick chapters do more to encourage young readers than many longer books could dream of doing. The target audience may be middle-grade readers, but I believe this book could also make a fantastic gift to older athletes and graduates looking for a mental or emotional boost. Alexander truly has a knack for, well, crossovers, and I believe THE PLAYBOOK is a book that I will return to time and time again.

Reviewed by Audrey Slater on February 23, 2017

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life
Written by Kwame Alexander with photos by Thai Neave