How would you introduce the book, Slam!, and its author, Walter Dean Myers, in a introductory paragraph?
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An Introduction leads the reader into the idea you have about something. Your Introduction will depend in part upon what your idea about Slam! is and upon wht your assignment is. If you are meant to only summarize the book, your Introduction might include a succinct statement of what Slam! is predominantly about, for instance: A basketball player in Harlem learns that is and must be something more than that if he is to slam-dunk his dreams and showcase his talent. If your assignment requires a thesis statement that elaborates upon an idea you have about the book, your Introduction will need to give the background of the book (author, genre etc) and the reason and purpose for your essay: you aim to explain (___) for the purpose of (___). Your Introduction will also certainly state your idea and set the stage for what the reader will learn in your essay.
I think that any introduction to Dean Myers and his work has to focus on how he writes for those who might not be represented in the young adult compendium of literature. Myers demonstrates this by paying special attention to the condition of teens in the urban centers of America and writing about their experiences. It seems to me that an introduction paragraph to Dean and Slam! would have to center on how Dean Myers' focus on urban youth is prevalent in his body of work. Dean Myers does not shy away from what urban youth might face as daily occurrences. He does not glamorize or sensationalize this reality, but rather brings it out as a precursor to exploring how the issues adolescents and young people do face are universal. In this, Dean Myers actually bridges gaps than creates them. It is here where Slam! speaks the loudest as it highlights how adolescent talent and adolescent reality can be two different realms, with the challenge of seeking to bring both together and finding happiness in both. I think that focusing on these points would enable the writing sample to move effortlessly into a discussion of Slam! as both representative of Dean Myers' work and how it stands on its own merits as a work of adolescent experience.
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