Every March, my dad gives everyone a bracket to fill out for March Madness. Having never followed basketball, I usually fill mine out based on jersey color, whether or not I’ve ever visited that state and if I like the look of their mascot. Every March, my dad makes fun of me. Well, not this year! I’m determined to make a name for myself by filling out the perfect bracket…or at least a respectable one.
So I decided to do a little research. Did you know that the first basketball game was played on December 29, 1891 in, essentially, a P.E. class? James Naismith was a teacher at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was asked by the physical education coach to invent a game they could play inside. Fast-forward nearly 120 years and “basket ball” has become one of the most popular sports in our country. A kid in the US can start playing basketball on a recreational team as early as kindergarten and play all the way through to college leagues and the NBA.
In our Fred Bowen books, we follow kids doing just that–playing a sport they love and moving up in the ranks. Bowen is the author of both Peachtree’s popular Sports Story and All-Star Sport Story series. A lifelong sports fanatic, he has coached youth league baseball, basketball, and soccer. His kids’ sports column “The Score” appears each week in the KidsPost section of the Washington Post. Check out his website here. There are 13 books in his series and each is a captivating read for anyone who enjoys sports. These are his titles all about basketball: 
Real Hoops (Just published in February!)
Can street ball and technical play mix it up on the court and score wins
for the team? Can Ben convince Hud to leave his hotshot style back on the pickup court?
The Final Cut (Part of the All-Star Sports Story Series)
Four friends who share a love of basketball have to go through tryouts for the school team. But will they all make the team?
Full Court Fever (Part of the All-Star Sports Story Series)
The Falcons have the skill but not the height required to win their games. Will they be able to win the dreaded end-of-the-season game against their much taller rivals? 
When a basketball team’s star forward loses his confidence, he has to learn how to think like a winner again.
Off the Rim (Part of the All-Star Sports Story Series) Chris yearns to be more than a benchwarmer on the Oak View Middle School basketball team. With the help of his best friend Greta and her mom, Chris begins to change his defensive strategy and successfully learns to keep his opponents from scoring.
On the Line (Part of the All-Star Sports Story Series)
Marcus is the high scorer and best rebounder on his basketball team, but he’s not so great at free throws, until the school custodian helps him overcome his fear of failure.
One thing I really love about this series is that each book includes a featured “Real Story.” These chapters are filled with fascinating information about real players who made an impact on the game. Not only for those of us (okay, me) who don’t know much about the game, the “Real Story” bridges the fiction to the players who inspired it, giving even the most avid basketball fan a better understanding of the history of the sport.