All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Charles Smith

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Charles R. Smith, Jr. was born and raised in California. As a child he spent a lot of time reading books and poetry and playing basketball, but during his stint on the high school yearbook committee he fell in love with photography and decided that he wanted to be a professional photography.

Today, Smith combines his experiences in these three areas — writing, photography, and sports — in his work with children's books. Rimshots, his first book, is a collection of stories and poems mixed with gritty black and white photos. While many of his books, like Hoop Kings, Hoop Queens, Tall Tales and Short Takes, focus on basketball, Smith has diverse interests. Baseball gets its due in Diamond Life, while the definition of what it means to be American is celebrated through images and words in I Am America. His recent work celebrates those who have inspired him, such as Muhammad Ali in Twelve Rounds to Glory and subjects he's been interested in since he was a kid, such as The Mighty 12, which celebrates Greek gods and goddesses. Of the distinctive niche Charles R. Smith Jr. fills with his books, he notes, "I want to show students, particularly boys, that there are many ways to pursue their interests, no matter what they may be."

Smith lives in Poughkeepsie, New York, with his wife and their three children.

Selected Books

from Charles Smith

Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, & Rhythms

Age Level: 9-12

A range of emotions flows from each short piece in poetry and prose as readers share the ups and downs of basketball. Sophisticated readers will see themselves in both word and image, all attractively formatted in a distinctive design.

Buy Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, & Rhythms

Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali

Age Level: 9-12

This sophisticated biography briefly examines the life of Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay, Ali changed more than just his name through his confidence and convictions. A staccato rhythm emulates a rap and Ali's words to combine with illustrations for a memorable look at a unforgettable figure.

Buy Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali

Winning Words: Sports Stories & Photographs

Age Level: Teen

Short stories about a variety of sports not only focus on young people's participation but are used as a device to highlight a specific and important quality such as self-confidence. The tone of each story ranges from serious to humorous but each ends with a quote from a well-known figure and complemented by Smith's artful photographs.

Buy Winning Words: Sports Stories & Photographs