Elle of the Ball

Elle of the Ball

(Book #1 of Hoops)
For Ages: 8 - 12
From 2015 WNBA MVP, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and global ambassador to the Special Olympics Elena Delle Donne comes the first novel in a brand-new middle grade series with as much heart as there is game.

Elle Deluca is a seventh grader who is tall—not just sort of tall. She’s six feet tall. And for a twelve-year-old girl, this means that her basketball team has high hopes for her changing positions and becoming their starting center. But a new position is not the only footwork she has to learn. Her class’s dance unit in gym is coming up, and that means she has to learn ballroom dance steps with a boy much shorter than her—and perform publically for a grade.

In the first book in WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist Elena Delle Donne’s Hoops series, Elle must figure out a way to remain herself when others want her to be someone else.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 160 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781534412330 | 
  • March 2018 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
List Price
AU$ 9.99

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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

The Hoops series: Elle of the Ball, Full-Court Press, and Out of Bounds

By Elena Delle Donne

About the Books

If, like Elle, you’re a seventh-grade girl and already six feet tall, everyone notices you. And if, like Elle, you’re pretty good at basketball, everyone’s sure you’ll be a pro someday. But Elle isn’t so sure. Does she love basketball more than anything? What would she do if she didn’t spend so much time on the court? Elle loves being part of a team with so many of her friends, but the coach can be tough and even teammates can be mean. Written by a real-life WNBA star, the first three books in the Hoops series follow Elle as she plays a lot of basketball while also trying to figure out who she is and what she really wants.

Discussion Questions

1. How does Elle’s height impact her life? Describe the advantages and disadvantages, if any. How does she feel about it? Give examples from all three books.

2. Why does Elle play basketball? Think about both positive and negative aspects, and discuss whether you think she should keep playing. Make sure to give arguments for both sides.

3. If Elle didn’t play basketball, what might she do with her time? Name other activities that she enjoys, or things that she’s good at. What could she pursue in the fut see more

More Books from this Author

My Shot
Out of Bounds
Full-Court Press

About the Author

Elena Delle Donne
Photograph by The Players Tribune/Todd Rosenberg

Elena Delle Donne

Elena Delle Donne has been a professional women’s basketball player since 2013, when she was selected by the Chicago Sky second overall in the WNBA draft. She was the 2015 WNBA MVP and won the gold medal with the USA’s women’s basketball team in the 2016 Olympics. She is the global ambassador for the Special Olympics and became the first national ambassador for the Lyme Research Alliance. Elena also plays host to De11e Donne Academy, a basketball camp that runs throughout the year, where she mentors and coaches girls ages seven to eighteen. She now plays for the Washington, DC, Mystics.