Twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.
This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match.
"A novel about a soccer-obsessed tween boy written entirely in verse? In a word, yes. Kwame Alexander has the magic to pull off this unlikely feat, both as a poet and as a storyteller. " —The Chicago Tribune
Can’t nobody stop you
Can’t nobody cop you…
ILA-CBC Children's Choice List· ALA Notable Children’s Book · Book Links’ Lasting Connections · Kirkus Best Book · San Francisco Chronicle Best Book· Washington Post Best Book· BookPage Best Book
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About the Author
He is a regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, currently serving as their poet ambassador.He lives with his family in the UK. Visit his website at www.kwamealexander.com or find him on Twitter and Instagram @kwamealexander.
Read an Excerpt
on the pitch, lightning faSt, dribble, fake, then make a dash player tries tO steal the ball lift and step and make him fall zip and zoom to find the spot defense readies for the shot Chip, then kick it in the air take off like a Belgian hare shoot it left, but watch it Curve all he can do is observe watch the ball bEnd in midflight play this game faR into night.
Wake Up Call
After playing FIFA online with Coby till one thirty a.m. last night, you wake this morning to the sound of Mom arguing on the phone with Dad.
Did you make up your bed? Yeah. Can you put bananas in my pancakes, please?Did you finish your homework? Yeah. Can we play a quick game of Ping-Pong, Mom?And what about the reading. I didn’t see you doing that yesterday. Mom, Dad’s not even here.Just because your father’s away doesn’t mean you can avoid your chores. I barely have time for my real chores.Perhaps you should spend less time playing Xbox at all hours of the night. Huh?Oh, you think I didn’t know? I’m sick of reading his stupid words, Mom. I’m going to high school next year and I shouldn’t have to keep doing this.
Why couldn’t your dad
be a musician like Jimmy Leon’s dad or own an oil company like Coby’s? Better yet, why couldn’t he be a cool detective driving a sleek silver convertible sports car like Will Smith in Bad Boys? Instead, your dad’s a linguistics professor with chronic verbomania* as evidenced by the fact that he actually wrote a dictionary called Weird and Wonderful Words with, get this, footnotes.
* verbomania [vurb-oh-mey-nee-uh] noun: a crazed obsession for words. Every freakin’ day I have to read his “dictionary,” which has freakin’ FOOTNOTES. That’s absurd to me. Kinda like ordering a glass of chocolate milk, then asking for chocolate syrup on the side. Seriously, who does that? SMH!
In the elementary school spelling bee
when you intentionally misspelled heifer, he almost had a cow. You’re the only kid on your block at school in THE. ENTIRE. FREAKIN’. WORLD. who lives in a prison of words. He calls it the pursuit of excellence. You call it Shawshank. And even though your mother forbids you to say it, the truth is you HATE words.