My Bio

My Bio
My name is Sharon Levin and I've been reviewing children's literature for 20 years. I founded and run the Bay Area Children's Literature List. My biggest passion (outside my family) is getting books into the hands of children and teens. My favorite thing is getting non-readers to realize that they're readers. I also LOVE t-shirts that have to do with books or literature. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll have a click through on the above picture so you can see my entire collection (and where to get them).

January 12, 2019


I was thrilled to receive a review copy of ATTUCKS! OSCAR ROBERTSON and the BASKETBALL TEAM THAT AWAKENED A CITY by Phillip Hoose.

Children's and YA literature often introduces me to parts of history I know nothing about (i.e. Dreamland Burning, My Mother The Cheerleader, Crossing Ebenezer Creek and anything by Ruta Sepetys).  It was Hoose's own Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice that introduced so many of us to this brave young woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus (nine months before Rosa Parks)

I appreciate that in Attucks, Hoose owns his whiteness and lack of exposure (in his youth) to People of Color, specifically African Americans.  He admits that he thought the name of the all black high school in Indianapolis was Christmas Attucks (which is a terrible reflection on the U.S. History being taught at his 99.9% white high school across the river in Speedway, Indianapolis).

So, as a white woman and ex middle school girls' basketball coach (my main role was to repeat the other coach's instructions in my hard-to-ignore 'playground voice') I was very eager to learn about this team that forever changed high school basketball in Indiana.

Let's start with the positives (this is how book award committees normally work and I like that format).

The book focuses on Oscar Robertson, the star player for the Attucks team and considered "the greatest basketball player ever in Indiana."

Hoose met with Robertson when researching an article for Sports Illustrated.  "One scrap from that conversation inspired the book you're reading now."  (p. 3)

"You know," Oscar said, "when the Ku Klux Klan started our school, they really didn't understand what they were doing."

Hoose goes on from this starting point to do an amazing job telling the story of this young man, the school, the community and the state.  He puts in first hand accounts of the jaw-dropping ignorance and racism i.e. one little white boy who kept scratching an Attucks' cheerleader's arm and tasting his finger until she told him "It isn't chocolate, it's my skin, the same as yours. I'm just darker than you are." (p. 40)

He emphasizes the power of the KKK, specifically in the person of D.C. Stephenson who (accurately) stated, "I am the law in Indiana." (p.18)  Hoose's recounting of the opening of Crispus Attucks High School in 1927 through the winning, culture-changing basketball teams of the mid 1950's shines a light on a little known, little written about, chapter in Civil Rights History.

BUT, some language choices and errors jumped out at me, and if I (a 56 year old white woman)
saw them, there are probably other errors that will jump out at PoC.

Let's start with language.  Here is the description of our hero, Oscar Robertson, "... a tall, lean, gangly boy with large, slightly protruding eyes...." (p. 94)

Protruding eyes are often used in caricatures or mocking portrayals of African Americans, so it's a descriptor I would leave out unless Robertson had Graves' Disease and Hoose was listing symptoms.  To make this more disturbing (to me), there is a photo of Robertson on this page and the word 'protruding' is not even vaguely accurate, so why is it used?

Further in the book (p. 135) Hoose is talking about Attucks High School playing Muncie Central and the betting going on about the game.  he states, "It was a game over which a great deal of money changed hands--black dollars and white dollars.  Attucks games had long been heavily wagered, with racial prejudice driving many white fans to bet with their hearts rather than their heads against a black team."

I'm aware that what he is saying is that their emotions, specifically hatred and racism, had them making unwise bets.  However, being guided by one's heart normally has positive connotations.

There are some big inaccuracies or miscommunication in the text as well.

Hoose introduces the story of Bernard McPeak (p. 99) an African American man, who had '"applied for membership in the Indiana Officials Association" but he was rejected by a vote of 40-7 and Hoose writes, "The organization's president, Clayton Nichols, matter-of-factly explained the reason to a reporter: "It was because of his color." (p. 100)

Put like that, it sounds as if President Nichols is incredibly racist and supportive of the Association's decision.  In fact, the HEADLINE on p. 102 states:   REFEREES' PREJUDICE EXPOSED BY OFFICIAL OF ASSOCIATION!

In other words, President Nichols was incredibly angry about the vote and immediately called out the racism of a majority of his groups' members (Ah, if only a current organization would call out the racism of a majority of its members, *cough* GOP *cough*).

Is this a huge error?  Well, not huge, but it's an error that shouldn't have happened, given the correct information is in the PRIMARY SOURCE material in this very book.

On this same page (p. 100) Hoose states "The (Attucks) Tigers never saw a black referee." BUT, when we look at the primary source (newspaper article on p.103) it says "McPeak is certified by the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and has worked a number of high school games here.  His latest assignment was the Attucks-Ladoga contest..."

I'm not sure why Hoose made these errors.  Is it to make the racism seem worse?  The bigotry is heinous and blatant already, so there's really not a need to attribute racism to a man who fought it (Nichols) or create a situation that didn't exist ("never saw a black referee").

All in all, ATTUCKS tells a fascinating story and I'm glad to have learned this history.  It disturbs me though, that I cannot truly trust all that I read, since it seems to me that care was not taken with the facts or language in this book.


  1. I so appreciate this review! So thorough, the good and the bad and the protruding...

  2. just a chic review of this literature. Interestingly described the essence of the book, which plunges into the world of the writer.

  3. The beauty of basketball is that you don't have to have access to a fancy court or expensive equipment, as you do with some other popular sports. 안전놀이터

  4. He could have effectively would not return as he was incorporated into the title winning group however he needed to return and prevail upon the great all once more. With one of its stars having such an attitude, Team Japan is cheery that different stars will pursue.

  5. The FIFA Women’s World Cup is a competition that is run by football’s governing body since 1991, when the first edition of this tournament was held in China. This tournament, like the men’s version, is held once every four years.

    Women's World Cup
    Women's World Cup 2019

    The number of teams has increased since the tournament’s inception. Back in 1991, twelve teams fought for the title, but the upcoming 2019 tournament will have 24 teams aiming to win the competition.

    Women's World Cup Live
    Women's World Cup 2019 Live

    The United States Women’s National Team is the most successful in the history of this competition. The USWNT has won three titles so far, followed closely by the German team that won back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2007.

    USA vs Netherlands
    Netherlands vs USA
    United States vs Netherlands

    The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was held in Canada. The tournament was won by the USWNT, as the American team defeated Japan with a 5-2 score.

    USA vs Netherlands Live
    Netherlands vs USA Live
    United States vs Netherlands Live

    The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in France from June 7 to July 7, 2019. With 24 teams playing in this competition, the two best teams from each of the six groups will make it to the KO stage, with the four best 3rd places will join them in that stage.

  6. Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. composite leather * basketball pump shoes * best outdoor basketball sjoes

  7. This is very smart, really an intelligent idea. This is my first time in your blog and I really love it. Thanks for this awesome post. their website

  8. Your blog is too much amazing. I have found with ease what I was looking. Moreover, the content quality is awesome. Thanks for the nudge! 안전놀이터

  9. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commentators here! 안전놀이터

  10. Once more, for a snicker you can customize a T-shirt, towel, a major stockpile of sports cream for every one of the a throbbing painfulness, make an entertaining activity instructional exercise or whatever else you can think about that would be clever. Basketball uniforms

  11. The article looks magnificent, but it would be beneficial if you can share more about the suchlike subjects in the future. Keep posting. soccer scores api

  12. There are stars that are not afraid to make their beauty sparkle in complex necklaces or earrings. Academy Awards 2020 Live Streaming

  13. Hi there, thanks to giving such a meaningful insight to the world of Asian escort NYC. This post is a must read before you are figuring out to have some sensual romance in New York. It is a detailed analysis and highly useful. Thanks a lot!

  14. It’s an easy to read and understand post and gentlemen can really know in detail regarding NYC Asian escort and their services. I enjoyed reading in between the lines and within a few minutes I finished the whole. At the end I was completely aroused and finally made the booking through the given info.

  15. I came across this blog post when I was alone. Reading through it, I felt good. At the very instant I hire GFE service of the agency and got a surprising beautiful New York Asian escort in my service. She was cooperative and entertained me a lot as per my expectations. Thanks for being so genuine!

  16. Sharon, tell Mike I'm trying to get in touch with him at 413-2374

  17. So, no matter how you play basketball it is the right way as long as you have the ball and hoop. You can play whatever way feels best for you with whatever rules you want. You can play with as many players as you want on whatever type of court you want. The bottom line is that you just have fun while you are doing it.Vertical Jump

  18. I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you! The information that you have provided is very helpful. How to Dunk a Basketball even if your Short

  19. I have every right to do what I want with my money. I earned it, after all. It's sports betting

  20. Hi there, I discovered your blog per Google bit searching for such kinda educational advise moreover your inform beholds very remarkable for me. flower shop in Pune

  21. I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog 토토사이트

  22. Great post I like it very much keep up the good work. 먹튀검증

  23. Anyway I’ll be subscribing on your augment or even I success you access constantly quickly. 파워볼사이트

  24. I've been searching for hours on this topic and finally found your post. 안전놀이터

  25. If possible, please visit my website as well. Thank you. 토토사이트

  26. I've been searching for hours on this topic 바카라사이트

  27. If possible, please visit my website as well. 토토사이트

  28. This is a great post, I am very happy with this information.