Beyond the Game is a new nonfiction chapter book series about athletes who have stepped up beyond sports to make a difference in the world, from acclaimed author, Andrew Maraniss and illustrator DeAndra Hodge. This is the story of LeBron James and his social justice work.

Before he became one of the most famous basketball players on the planet, before he began speaking out for justice, LeBron James was just a kid.

In this chapter book biography by acclaimed author Andrew Maraniss, illustrated by DeAndra Hodge, readers learn more about the life and work of LeBron James—from growing up with a single mother in Akron, Ohio, to his journey to the NBA and ten NBA championships, to his social justice work creating I PROMISE and speaking up for Black Lives Matter.

While known as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, LeBron James has changed the world beyond sports.

Complete with black-and-white illustrations throughout, statistics, resources, and ways for kids to make a difference on their own—BEYOND THE GAME is a giftable and inspirational series for every reader.
© Keith Miles
New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss writes sports-and history-related nonfiction, telling stories with a larger social message. His first book, Strong Inside, received the Lillian Smith Book Award for civil rights and the RFK Book Awards' Special Recognition Prize for social justice, becoming the first sports-related book ever to win either award. His young readers adaptation of Strong Inside was named one of the Top Biographies for Youth by the American Library Association and was named a Notable Social Studies Book by the Children's Book Council. His acclaimed second book for kids Games of Deception was a Sydney Taylor Book Award Middle Grade Honor Recipient, a Junior Library Guild selection, and was praised by authors Steve Sheinkin and Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Andrew is a contributor to ESPN's sports and race website, TheUndefeated.com, and is a visiting author at the Vanderbilt University Athletic Department. View titles by Andrew Maraniss
CHαPTER ΟNE
Before he became
the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James was just a poor kid from Akron, Ohio, born to a sixteen-year-old mother without any money or a permanent place to live.
Before he was King James, he was a little boy clutching a stuffed animal.
He was the kind of kid most people ignore.
LeBron didn’t have his own bedroom with posters on the wall or clothes hanging in the closet. A permanent home was a luxury Gloria, his mother, could not afford. So they bounced from apartment to apartment, or slept on a friend’s couch. LeBron carried his few toys with him.
“Don’t get comfortable,” Gloria would tell him, “because we may not be here long.”
Sometimes, LeBron stayed home by himself while his mom went to school or to work. The TV kept him company, but it was nothing like the comfort of his mother’s presence. So with Gloria gone for hours, he settled for the next best thing, clutching his stuffed blue elephant close to his chest whenever he missed her.
Constantly moving from place to place, LeBron missed nearly one hundred days of school one year. He stayed in so many parts of town, he wasn’t exactly sure which school he was supposed to attend anyway.
One day, when he was eight years old, LeBron was outside playing with friends when a youth football coach drove up to his building looking for kids to join his team. LeBron loved sports but had never played on a real team before. The coach challenged the kids to a hundred-yard sprint. “Fastest one is my running back,” he said.
LeBron was up for the challenge.
Ready. Set. Go!
He sprinted so fast he won the race by fifteen yards.
The coach was amazed. And he had himself a new running back.
LeBron scored seventeen touchdowns in his very first season.
Everyone who watched him play could see that LeBron was an amazing athlete. But he was also the kind of kid who had everything stacked against him.
In the years to come, he would beat the odds and become one of the most famous people on Earth.
But he never forgot where he came from.
From Akron. From poverty. From a place where hope was blown out like a candle.
They say an elephant never forgets. And neither did the boy who held the blue one.
And because LeBron never forgot his roots, he made a promise to help the kids from Akron just like him. Kids who were scared and hungry but full of dreams just like anyone else.
And he would use his voice to speak out against the forces that created inequality in the first place.
LeBron James’s biggest victories have taken place well beyond the game of basketball.
"With wide-spaced lines of text and attractive, digital illustrations in black and white, the books in this series will appeal to young readers with an interest in basketball and how some of its brightest stars are using their wealth and influence to improve the lives of others. This series’ dual purpose offers a refreshing shift of emphasis from the usual sports biographies."--Booklist Reviews

About

Beyond the Game is a new nonfiction chapter book series about athletes who have stepped up beyond sports to make a difference in the world, from acclaimed author, Andrew Maraniss and illustrator DeAndra Hodge. This is the story of LeBron James and his social justice work.

Before he became one of the most famous basketball players on the planet, before he began speaking out for justice, LeBron James was just a kid.

In this chapter book biography by acclaimed author Andrew Maraniss, illustrated by DeAndra Hodge, readers learn more about the life and work of LeBron James—from growing up with a single mother in Akron, Ohio, to his journey to the NBA and ten NBA championships, to his social justice work creating I PROMISE and speaking up for Black Lives Matter.

While known as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, LeBron James has changed the world beyond sports.

Complete with black-and-white illustrations throughout, statistics, resources, and ways for kids to make a difference on their own—BEYOND THE GAME is a giftable and inspirational series for every reader.

Author

© Keith Miles
New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss writes sports-and history-related nonfiction, telling stories with a larger social message. His first book, Strong Inside, received the Lillian Smith Book Award for civil rights and the RFK Book Awards' Special Recognition Prize for social justice, becoming the first sports-related book ever to win either award. His young readers adaptation of Strong Inside was named one of the Top Biographies for Youth by the American Library Association and was named a Notable Social Studies Book by the Children's Book Council. His acclaimed second book for kids Games of Deception was a Sydney Taylor Book Award Middle Grade Honor Recipient, a Junior Library Guild selection, and was praised by authors Steve Sheinkin and Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Andrew is a contributor to ESPN's sports and race website, TheUndefeated.com, and is a visiting author at the Vanderbilt University Athletic Department. View titles by Andrew Maraniss

Excerpt

CHαPTER ΟNE
Before he became
the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James was just a poor kid from Akron, Ohio, born to a sixteen-year-old mother without any money or a permanent place to live.
Before he was King James, he was a little boy clutching a stuffed animal.
He was the kind of kid most people ignore.
LeBron didn’t have his own bedroom with posters on the wall or clothes hanging in the closet. A permanent home was a luxury Gloria, his mother, could not afford. So they bounced from apartment to apartment, or slept on a friend’s couch. LeBron carried his few toys with him.
“Don’t get comfortable,” Gloria would tell him, “because we may not be here long.”
Sometimes, LeBron stayed home by himself while his mom went to school or to work. The TV kept him company, but it was nothing like the comfort of his mother’s presence. So with Gloria gone for hours, he settled for the next best thing, clutching his stuffed blue elephant close to his chest whenever he missed her.
Constantly moving from place to place, LeBron missed nearly one hundred days of school one year. He stayed in so many parts of town, he wasn’t exactly sure which school he was supposed to attend anyway.
One day, when he was eight years old, LeBron was outside playing with friends when a youth football coach drove up to his building looking for kids to join his team. LeBron loved sports but had never played on a real team before. The coach challenged the kids to a hundred-yard sprint. “Fastest one is my running back,” he said.
LeBron was up for the challenge.
Ready. Set. Go!
He sprinted so fast he won the race by fifteen yards.
The coach was amazed. And he had himself a new running back.
LeBron scored seventeen touchdowns in his very first season.
Everyone who watched him play could see that LeBron was an amazing athlete. But he was also the kind of kid who had everything stacked against him.
In the years to come, he would beat the odds and become one of the most famous people on Earth.
But he never forgot where he came from.
From Akron. From poverty. From a place where hope was blown out like a candle.
They say an elephant never forgets. And neither did the boy who held the blue one.
And because LeBron never forgot his roots, he made a promise to help the kids from Akron just like him. Kids who were scared and hungry but full of dreams just like anyone else.
And he would use his voice to speak out against the forces that created inequality in the first place.
LeBron James’s biggest victories have taken place well beyond the game of basketball.

Praise

"With wide-spaced lines of text and attractive, digital illustrations in black and white, the books in this series will appeal to young readers with an interest in basketball and how some of its brightest stars are using their wealth and influence to improve the lives of others. This series’ dual purpose offers a refreshing shift of emphasis from the usual sports biographies."--Booklist Reviews

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