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by Kwame Alexander | Read by Corey Allen

Alexander’s lyrical free verse and Corey Allen’s musical narration are as magical a combination as this story’s pairing of basketball and poetry. Allen blends rhyming, hip-hop, and jazzy words into a melodic flow. His tones switch like a fast-changing crossover dribble as he narrates from the viewpoint of 13-year-old Jordan Bell, aka “Filthy McNasty.” Filthy crows with cockiness, taunting his twin brother in a pick-up game, then is immediately meek at his mother’s stern reminder to clean his filthy room. In one moment Filthy is on the court trash-talking his father, formerly a famous basketball player. Seconds later, he’s plunged into a life-or-death situation. Allen maintains the tension throughout the sibling rivalry, athletic competition, and sudden tragedy. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine