John Coy speaks to students at Echo Park Elementary School in 2010. Star Tribune file photo by David Joles.

John Coy speaks to students at Echo Park Elementary School in 2010. Star Tribune file photo by David Joles.

 

"Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game," by Minneapolis writer John Coy, has been honored by the Wisconsin Library Association. The picture book about a clandestine basketball game in 1944 has won the 2016 Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award, which goes to the most distinguished work in literature written or illustrated by a Wisconsin native. Coy grew up in Eau Claire.

"Game Changer" was published in 2015 by Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of the Minneapolis Lerner Publishing Group. It tells the story of a basketball game between an all-black team from the North Carolina College of Negroes, and a white team from Duke University Medical School.

“It was an incredible story,” Coy said in an interview last fall. He was drawn to it because of the courage of the men who took part. In those years, in that part of the country, so-called "race mixing" could be punished with death.

Coy is the author of more than 15 books for children and young adults and has been part of COMPAS writers and artists in the schools for 20 years.

Read our story about "Game Changer" here.

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