Grades 6 - 8
Grade level Equivalent: 7.4
Lexile® Measure: 1150L
Guided Reading: Z
- Coming of Age
- African American
- Friends and Friendship
- Prejudice and Tolerance Experiences
- Objectionable Language
About This Book
Jerome Foxworthy — the Jayfox to his friends — likes to think he can handle anything. He handled growing up without a father. He handled being the first, and still the only, black kid in his newly integrated North Carolina school. And he sure can handle a basketball. He's still an outsider in the seventh grade, though. So is Bix Rivers, a white kid who has a reputation as a great athlete, but who remains mysterious and moody because of troubles at home.
The two boys form an unlikely and sometimes precarious friendship centered on the basketball court, as Jerome sets out to teach Bix his game. Evening after evening, the boys play alone on an outdoor court, and while Bix improves, he refuses to do any faking — to make any moves. Then he finds his motivation: If he can beat his stepfather at basketball, he will be allowed to visit his mother, who is in a mental institution.
In this Newbery Honor Book, Bruce Brooks' first novel for young people, the deservedly award-winning author combines the energy and pace of a sports story with the depth of a realistic coming-of-age novel. Brooks infuses Jerome's first-person narration with humor and attitude, and creates detailed, entertaining basketball scenes that fairly jump off the page to capture sports fans and reluctant readers. But he is also an expert at capturing his characters' complexities, and underlying the banter in The Moves Make the Man is a serious exploration of values and the way people relate to one another.
Praise for The Moves Make the Man
"Brooks's fine first novel has a baskeball theme and plenty of action, but sport is merely the vehicle for delivering a serious story of friendship and madness."' — School Library Journal
"Brilliant sportswriting and a trenchant examination of the friendship between narrator Jerome Foxworthy — an African-American seventh-grader — and Bix, a white boy in trouble."' — Booklist
1985 Newbery Honor BookNotable Children's Books of 1984 (ALA)
1985 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
1985 Boston Globe – Horn Book Award for Fiction
Best Books of 1984 (SLJ)
100 Favorite Paperbacks 1989 (IRA/CBC)
"Best of the 80's" Young Adult Novels (English Journal)