cover image Dragon Hoops

Dragon Hoops

Gene Luen Yang. First Second, $24.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-62672-079-4

As a comic book enthusiast and graphic novelist, Printz Medalist Yang has always been more partial to superheroes than to sports. But in 2014, as a teacher at a Catholic high school in Oakland, Calif., Yang is drawn to a story about the school’s basketball team—the Dragons. Rumor has it that under the current coach, a former player at the school, this year’s team will surely grab the state championship. Shadowing the group for an entire season, Yang interviews players and coaches to uncover the talented students’ stories and the program’s allegedly shadowed past. Using documentary-style storytelling, Yang serves as both narrator and a character, alternating player backstories and the Dragons’ 2014 season with interstitials about the sport’s beginnings and early tensions, historical and present-day discrimination (Black Lives Matter, Sikh persecution following the partition of India), and Yang’s own work-life balance. Using a candid narrative and signature illustrations that effectively and dynamically bring the fast-paced games to life, Yang has crafted a triumphant, telescopic graphic memoir that explores the effects of legacy and the power of taking a single first step, no matter the outcome. Ages 14–up. (Mar.)