THE SWAG IS IN THE SOCKS by Kelly J. Baptist

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I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.

Xavier’s great uncle Frankie Bell is a legend. The man is seriously old, but he hasn’t slowed down one bit. He’s still traveling the country with his jazz band, making music and making history. And apparently, he’s decided it’s time for Xavier to step up his sock game.

The socks Frankie Bell sends are crazy–bright colors, wild patterns, the kind of socks that call attention to a person. And with his stutter, Xavier doesn’t usually like calling more attention to himself. But lucky things happen every time Xavier wears Frankie Bell’s socks. He finds money on the street, gets free ice cream, even catches the attention of eighth graders. That’s a really good thing because some of those eighth graders are members of the Scepter League, an elite group of young men built on the pillars of leadership, education, service, and character, and it’s Xavier’s goal to get inducted this year. But once school starts, the sock luck seems to run out. First, Xavier’s art elective gets canceled, and he winds up in sewing class where he is the one and only boy. Then, there’s the usual embarrassment of being pulled out of class for speech therapy. But when isn’t invited to join the League, Xavier finally realizes that the socks aren’t the problem. If he wants to catch the attention of the League, he’s going to have to step up more than just his sock game. He’s going to have to stop hanging back and start speaking up–start living Frankie Bell’s legacy. And socks are a great place to start…

A powerful story with a humorous and authentic narrative voice, THE SWAG IS IN THE SOCKS is a wonderful pick for middle grade readers and book clubs. Baptist challenges readers to stop putting people in boxes and to search for their own “thing,” even if that talent or interest isn’t socially acceptable. Between the humor and Xavier’s quest to join the League, there is plenty to keep young readers engaged and turning pages. A great addition to any middle grade collection!

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