Basketball season and March Madness are in full swing and this weekend we are down to the FINAL FOUR! Living in Iowa, you know we’ll be cheering for our Iowa Hawkeye Women’s Basketball Team. If you have a child who loves all the college basketball on TV right now, then these basketball books for kids might just be for them.

Basketball Town cover


By: Scott Rothman

Illustrated by: Darnell Johnson

Published: September 12, 2023

Publisher: Candlewick Press


Maxwell lives and dreams (literally) basketball. One night he goes to bed dreaming about basketball and the next thing he knows he is waking up in Basketball Town. In Basketball Town, everything is all about basketball. The mountains look like basketballs and everyone is playing basketball and shooting hoops.

Basketball Town Page Spread

Maxwell thought he was a pretty good basketball player until he noticed that everyone in Basketball Town had more skills than he did. Even the Mayor of Basketball Town told him he needed to work on his game. Instead of being frustrated or angry, Maxwell got to work. He worked on his crossover, his pick-and-roll, and his dunking. But, was Maxwell good enough to play in the Championship game?

When Maxwell wakes up, his dad (who looks very similar to the Mayor of Basketball Town) is there telling him it’s time to head to basketball practice. Maxwell couldn’t be more excited to go play with his friends.

I loved that Maxwell realized that no matter how much you think you practice, you can still always improve your skills. He didn’t get mad when he was told he wasn’t quite ready, instead, he went and worked harder on his skills. So many kids think that skills happen naturally or feel entitled to play a sport. But, what makes you an athlete is putting in the hard work to train and working to get better every single day.

The end of the book includes a glossary of some of the terms and basketball slang used in the story. This book is great for kids who love playing basketball or those who have big dreams of playing like their favorite basketball star.

Scott Rothman wrote BASKETBALL TOWN because he discovered an arena-size hole in the picture book market for his young sports-obsessed sons. Scott Rothman lives in Connecticut with his wife and three children. Check out his website, HERE.

Darnell Johnson is an illustrator and story artist. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. This is his first book with Candlewick Press. Darnell Johnson lives with his wife and son in Atlanta.

To purchase a copy of BASKETBALL TOWN, click HERE.

Tacko Fall cover


To New Heights

By: Tacko Fall and Justin Haynes

Illustrated by: Reggie Brown

Published: September 20, 2022

Publisher: Candlewick Press


Fans of the NBA might be familiar with basketball star Tacko Fall who played for the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 7’6″ player was born in Senegal and came to the US to play basketball in high school.

Since Tacko was so tall, you would assume that he was a natural at basketball. But, as a kid, he mostly played soccer. He was often teased at school because of his height, but his mom encouraged him to do his best and ignore the teasing and name-calling. When one of his friends got a basketball, they started going to the court by his school and shooting hoops.

When Tacko was discovered by a coach, he realized he had a long way to go to actually become a basketball player. It wasn’t just about being tall, he had to be in shape and practice his skills. Tacko moved to the US to continue working on his basketball skills and attend school. He quickly learned English and even earned a scholarship to play basketball for the University of Central Florida. The rest is history.

Tacko Fall shares his story to encourage other kids to continue to work hard, practice, and keep overcoming obstacles to reach their dreams. Playing in the NBA was a dream come true for Tacko but it wasn’t without a lot of hard work and dedication. He ends the book with advice for all kids:

“Always dream BIG! Always have courage. If you do, you can rise to new heights!”

Tacko holding the rim with Jon looking up.

Check out a CBS News 60 Minutes Story on Tacko Fall from 2020, HERE.

Click HERE for an activity guide

Click HERE for a teacher’s guide

To purchase a copy of TACKO FALL, click HERE.

Tacko Fall emigrated from Senegal as a teenager to play basketball and rose to prominence when he was selected by the Boston Celtics and became a seven-foot-six ball-playing sensation. He has played for the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers and lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Justin Haynes is a sports agent at BDA Sports Management, where he represents Tacko Fall and other players. He lives in New Jersey.

Reggie Brown is the illustrator of several books for children, including the Magnificent Makers series by Theanne Griffith and Baseball Baby and Soccer Baby by Laura Gehl. He lives in San Diego.

Other posts you might like:

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

Check out my review policy, HERE.

Posted in

Leave a Comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.