We're in the middle of March Madness, watching quite a bit of basketball at our house recently - something that doesn't happen very often since I'm married to a former college wrestler and current wrestling coach. However, it's impossible even for him not to get caught up in basketball fever.
A new book showed up at school this week. Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy is a great simple picture book telling the story of James Naismith, the man who invented the game of basketball.
Naismith was merely trying to come up with a game to keep his students occupied in their indoor gym class. They tried football, lacrosse, and soccer, but all of these game were too physical for the gym. So, Naismith got a bit creative and came up with a game that involved throwing a soccer ball into a small basket. That was the beginning of basketball, one of our most popular sports today.
An author's note at book's end includes information about Naismith not already shared in this book, which covers only his idea to create a sport for his students to play indoors.
The text in this book is simple enough that Little Sister who is in kindergarten enjoyed this story and learning about basketball. This also appealed to my older elementary students who were introduced for the first time to the idea that a sport could be created by a person who was able to come up with the concept and rules.
James Naismith is a person I learned about in my college PE class, a name that has stuck with me as the inventor of a sport I love to watch.