Kobe Bryant was a legend on the court, and in some ways, off of it as well. But not a lot of people knew that he had books out as well – specifically, books for kids that centered around sports. I’m honestly not sure how much he had to do with the writing – my belief is that he created the idea for each story, and then had an author actually fill in the blanks. This article seems to show a bit about how that process worked for different books:
In Legacy and the Queen, we find a girl whose home has become an orphanage, whose father can barely keep food on the table for all his charges, and a country that has been united under one ruler. Legacy, however, just wants to play tennis – and when her father refuses to allow her, and instead plans to send her best friend to work in the mines, she runs away to try and get a scholarship to the best tennis academy there is. Upon arrival, however, Legacy learns that she’s looked down on for where she came from, that magic is not as hidden as she had supposed – and that some secrets should never have been buried.
It’s not a long book – perfect for the hesitant reader, or for reading out loud in a classroom/library setting. It’s an interesting story, and one that promotes friendship as well. Honestly, I ended up liking it more than I anticipated – there was something about the name “Kobe Bryant” being attached that sort of turned me off in the beginning – primarily, because it felt like there must have been an arrogant ego attached to anyone who assumed they could just…whip out a book that would be any good. And, I think part of me assumed that because the books are SO COOL LOOKING…all that flash must have been to make up for a deficiency within the story. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Legacy was a great story, one I started and didn’t want to finish. I definitely would have loved to read more about her, had Kobe not passed. I don’t know where that leaves his burgeoning book publishing, but it is just one more tragedy piled upon tragedy that this sports fiction niche may now go unfulfilled.
That brings me to another neat part about these books. Finding good middle-reader titles about other sports besides *football* can be hard to do. These books help young athletes find books that they can relate to – in Legacy, it is tennis. And I will be the first to admit, I know ZERO about that sport. However, it didn’t matter to the overall enjoyment and immersion of the story. Having said that, I would be willing to bet that a reader who actually *knows* about tennis would find that some of the details contained in the book would only enhance their personal enjoyment.
Above, I mentioned that the books are pretty cool looking? Well, I don’t normally include extra photos in my reviews, but…YOU HAVE TO SEE.
Basically, whoever did his design for not only this book, but the others? Did a bang-up job. Kids love this sort of stuff, and so do adults like myself. It sets the books apart from others on the shelf, and gives them an aura that so many cannot match. They really are *very* cool.
Most middle-grade readers would enjoy this – there is a hint of fantasy about it, a bit of magic and some pretty amazing creatures. But that part is light, and the story revolves more around Legacy’s attempt to win her spot, the friends she makes, and trying to right an old wrong that gets discovered. For sure a great addition to any school library or classroom shelves, and I can say that I will be looking for more of Kobe’s titles to read myself.