Hoop Queens by Charles R. Smith Jr.

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Cheer on twelve professional women basketball players with a collection of vivid poems by Charles R. Smith Jr. set against vibrant photographs of the players in action.

Seven-foot-two-inch Margo Dydek blocks shots like a "Fly Swatter." Ticha Penicheiro feeds the ball to her teammates like a "Chef . . . mixing / and tossing / and chopping / and whipping." And then there’s "Fire Starter" Chamique Holdsclaw, rapidly racking up points and "blazing a trail with moves that scorch."

These are just three of the twelve women profiled by Charles R. Smith Jr. in a remarkable group of poems honoring the unique talents and determination of some of the best female players in professional basketball. With its arresting visual layout, action photographs on craft paper, and kinetic lyrics illustrating each player’s style, HOOP QUEENS will grab the attention of any kid who loves basketball - and score a slam-dunk with teachers of poetry. The book’s special cover treatment includes a cloth spine and cover stamping, giving a textured feel.

About Charles R. Smith Jr.

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Charles R. Smith Jr. says that while growing up in California, he read anything he could get his hands on. "Reading books filled with stories and poems inspired me to write my own," he says. "The more I read, the more I wrote. And if I wasn’t reading a book, I was playing a sport: I played everything, particularly basketball, and spent many afternoons on the court, perfecting my jump shot." While working on his high school yearbook as a writer, Charles R. Smith Jr. was introduced to photography and immediately decided to make a career out of it. He graduated from photography school and headed to New York to pursue his dream. "I continued with my writing, and, with a heavy influence of rap music, began writing more poetry instead of stories," he says. "Now, I have combined my photographic skills with my love of reading, writing, and sports to create an exciting career for myself!" Among the books the poet-photographer has written and illustrated is RIMSHOTS: BASKETBALL PIX, ROLLS, AND RHYTHMS, which was selected as an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book.
Published September 1, 2007 by Perfection Learning. 35 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hoop Queens

Publishers Weekly

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Smith's signature bold photographs, playful type, and electric colors and design blend 1970s-era basketball, modern street ball and hip-hop influences.

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Publishers Weekly

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In a few instances, the imagery seems forced and less tied to the game (as in the poem devoted to Natalie Williams, whose tag line is "Working Overtime": "Lunch pail toting/ hardhat wearing/ fierce/ rebounding machine,/ punches clock/ to chase the rock/ and wipe the windows/ clean").

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