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Booktalking "The Cruisers: Checkmate" by Walter Dean Myers
Alexander, "Zander" for short, is a student at the elite Da Vinci Academy for the Gifted and Talented. There, he belongs to a club known as the Cruisers that publishes an alternative newspaper, The Palette. Each member of the Cruisers has a special talent. Kambui, Zander's best friend, is into photography. LaShonda designs clothing, Bobbi is fascinated with numbers, and Zander wants to be a writer.
When their beloved teacher, Mr. Culpepper, enlists the Cruisers' help in getting through to Sidney, Zander does not hesitate. Of course he's willing to help the boy who stood up to Thuggy Butt for him when he entered the school. Sidney is in trouble with the law for attempting to buy a controlled substance. When the Cruisers see Sidney's father hit him at a chess match at the Brooklyn Public Library, Zander is concerned. All havoc breaks loose when one of the Cruisers gets a text message from Sidney looking for money but he does not specify for what purpose. All this is mixed up with Caren, Mr. Culpepper's daughter, who is making the moves on Zander.
I have always liked chess. It is a board game that is quiet, yet requires lots of strategical thinking. However, it has never exactly been my forte. I loved the movie about the prodigy chess star, Searching for Bobby Fischer. In Edinburgh, I saw some talented people play chess in a chess club. The teens at the Edenwald Library loved the chess program, and I once observed a librarian teach kids how to play chess at the Soundview Library. It is awesome that the library provides a venue for kids to test their skills against each other.