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Children's Nonfiction Social Topics

The Basketball Game

by (author) Hart Snider

illustrated by Sean Covernton

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Social Topics, Prejudice & Racism, Holocaust
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 11 to 13
  • Grade: 6 to 8


Warning: This book, which is based on a true story, has depictions of anti-Semitism and contains racial stereotypes and hateful language. It is intended for an audience of 12 years and older.

Healing wounds and changing worldviews, all though a simple game of basketball.

Nine-year-old Hart is attending Jewish summer camp for the first time. As if that isn't awkward enough, this summer the camp is going to play host to some very particular visitors, though the kids at camp don't know that yet.

What everyone else knows is that in a nearby small town called Eckville, a teacher by the name of Jim Keegstra was fired for spreading anti-Semitic views in his classroom, where he told his students that the Holocaust was a hoax. To make matters worse, he's also the nearby town's mayor.

To help combat Keegstra's lies the Eckville and Jewish communities decide that the best path forward is to invite the students taught by Keegstra to the summer camp for a day of fun and fellowship.

What transpires in this graphic memoir by filmmaker Hart Snider is a basketball game for all-time.

Adapted from the NFB's short animation of the same name, The Basketball Game is a poignant tale of the power of community as a means to rise above hatred and bigotry. In the end, as is recognized by the kids playing the basketball game, we're all in this together.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Hart Snider is a writer and filmmaker living in Vancouver, British Columbia. He loves hanging out with his family, editing documentaries, reading comics and graphic novels, cheering for the Edmonton Oilers and staying up late. His animated films The Basketball Game and Shop Class are streaming worldwide on and the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) app.

Sean Covernton was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, to pursue his dreams of making cartoons for a living, which he happily does to this very day.

Editorial Reviews

(starred review) A tale of the power of community.

The Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids and Teens 2023

The Basketball Game may be a personal graphic memoir of Hart Snider, but it's also a compelling reminder of the impact of hate on children. From Jim Keegstra's antisemitic teachings, which coerced young people to adopt his opinions in order to pass, to the children of Camp BB who enjoyed the familiarity of their Jewish community but anticipated conflict because of it, the story of The Basketball Game is a sobering reminder how vulnerable they are to fake news, misinformation and worse.

CanLit for Little Canadians

In this graphic autobiographical short, a boy recalls being the lesson in somebody else's teachable moment... A brief and accessible entry point to learning about the ease of spreading ignorant hatred.


Adapted from an NFB animated short, this graphic novel tells the true story of how the students of anti-Semitic teacher Jim Keegstra were invited to a Jewish summer camp for a day of fun and fellowship to help combat Keegstra's lies. The book includes an introduction, follow-up news items, and study questions.

Prairie Books Now

One of the many aspects of The Basketball Game that I especially like is the dominance of the children's perspective and experience. It is from this approach that the drawings transform from black and white ink panels of the characters interacting to full colour monster comic book art depicting the outlandish and comical figures their imaginations have created... Highly Recommended.

Canadian Review of Materials

Sometimes a basketball game is about more than basketball, and it's more than just a game... With its incredible illustrations and powerful message, it's a great read for kids 10 and older.

Edmonton Journal

We frequently see memoirs produced in graphic novel form, but The Basketball Game stands out among the rest... It's a satisfying story. It's a simple one, based on one time and place, but Snider and Covernton have still created a graphic novel that's provocative and interesting. Crucially, it's an all-ages book with teachers' notes in the back, so it can continue to make an impact.

Toronto Star

[A] Remarkable kids book... The Basketball Game is a fun and inspiring short film and graphic novel, but comes out of a dark story in Canadian history.

This is a story that needs to be read and revisited both in the original film version and this newly published graphic novel again and again. The book includes an introduction, follow up to the trial, study questions, and a glossary. It is a concise and accessible entry to the ease of spreading conspiracy theories, fake news, misinformation, and hatred. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.

No Flying No Tights

A basketball game may not be able to bring about world peace, but at least one game has acted as a bridge to increasing mutual understanding and empathy.

Jewish Independent