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Children's Fiction Basketball

Kings of the Court

by (author) Alison Hughes

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Basketball, School & Education, Theater
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


When the Gladiators basketball team's nasty coach finally gets turfed midseason, things couldn't possibly get worse.

The team hasn't won a game yet, and morale is at rock bottom. Sameer, who announces the games and keeps score, and Vijay, the team mascot, have their hands full keeping the team's spirits up. When they get promoted to assistant coach and manager, can they help a small, unathletic, Shakespeare-quoting drama teacher coach the team to victory, or at least to dignity? Or will the courtside drama eclipse even the school play?

About the author

Alison Hughes writes for children of all ages, and her books have been nominated for numerous awards. Alison also volunteers at the Centre for Family Literacy and does frequent presentations at schools, libraries and young-writer conferences. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with her husband and three children. For more information, visit

Alison Hughes' profile page


  • Nominated, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Awards - Diamond Willow

Editorial Reviews

"This is a solid sports fiction titles for middle grades with a bit of Shakespeare added for spice…Many sports fiction fans will find that this journey of a losing team provides appealing characters, a realistic plot, and plenty of events that take place on the court. The bonus is the depiction of the three types of coaches; competent, clueless, and angry. This title fills a niche for middle school libraries looking to broaden their sports offerings."

School Library Connection

"Kings of the Court has great pacing...Sameer is an extremely likable character and an exemplary lead...The juxtaposition of theatre and sports creates an interesting dynamic that sets Kings of the Court apart from typical sports-themed novels. Recommended."

CM Magazine

"An unlikely blend of personalities and characters working together promotes the concept of tolerance and discovery of how two very different fields can cooperate to make positive change. Recommended for independent reading and literature circles and as a springboard for class or group discussion."

Resource Links

"Kings of the Court is well paced, and its characters are realistically rendered with depth...Hughes creates a cast of characters from various backgrounds, but they're not highlighted as ethnic characters, they're just people in the story...Readers don't need to be basketball fans to appreciate Kings of the Court; the book should appeal to anyone who likes a good story about overcoming challenges."

Quill & Quire

"Exuberantly multiracial and multiethnic...a good-hearted story of gladiators, kings, and kids with dreams."

Kirkus Reviews

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