Mike Lupica is launching his newest sports-based novel for kids ages 8 to 12 — “Point Guard” (Simon & Schuster, $16.99) — at the Barnes & Noble in Carle Place the day it debuts, April 4.
It’s the third book in what Lupica calls his Home Team series, following four friends — three boys, Jack, Gus, Teddy, and one girl, Cassie.
Gus is a Dominican-American who’s constantly battling stereotypes of his heritage as he plays on the basketball team. But it’s 12-year-old Cassie who really stars in this book — she makes the boys’ basketball team and ultimately has the boys admitting that she’s the best athlete in the school. Gus and Cassie’s friendship is imperiled, however, when he has trouble accepting her on the court.
“I take great pride in my female characters,” says Lupica, a sports columnist and prolific author of kids’ books who lives in Connecticut. “I’ve got a spirited, talented, teenage daughter of my own.” Lupica’s daughter, Hannah, is a senior in high school and she has three older brothers. “She’s always been able to give as good as she gets with them,” Lupica says.
While the novel centers on a basketball team, Lupica says his books embody more than sports. “If there’s any theme that runs through my books,” he says, “it’s ‘friendship trumps all.’ This book is the first time that a friendship that was really a beautiful thing over the first two books is really tested.”
WHAT Mike Lupica signs “Point Guard”
WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m. April 4, Barnes & Noble, 91 Old Country Rd., Carle Place
INFO Free but book purchase is $16.99; 516-741-9850, bn.com