Who is the Greatest Of All Time—the G.O.A.T.? This is the question debated constantly between fans for any number of categories. Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? The greatest band? Video game? Sci-fi movie?
In The Great G.O.A.T. Debate: The Best of the Best in Everything from Sports to Science, award-winning young adult author Paul Volponi explores the “greatest of all time” in over twenty-five different categories. Volponi asks the G.O.A.T. question of writers, superheroes, musicians, philosophers, architects, athletes, and more. Alongside icons such as martial artist Bruce Lee, basketball star Maya Moore, and rapper Jay-Z, readers will also discover the diverse talents of inventor Leonardo da Vinci, the artistry of jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, and the genius of scientist Marie Curie.
Full of facts, trivia, and mini-arguments, The Great G.O.A.T. Debate is sure to expand readers’ horizons and help answer the ultimate question: “Who is the Greatest Of All Time?”
Paul Volponi is an author, journalist and educator. His twelve novels for young adults have been the recipient of a dozen American Library Association honors. His novel Black and White, winner of the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award, is a staple in many middle school and high school English classes. Volponi’s most recent books are That’s My Team: The History, Science, and Fun Behind Sports Teams’ Names (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) and Streetball is Life: Lessons Earned on the Asphalt (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020), both nonfiction sports books for young adults. He lives in Flushing, NY.
Chapter One: Athlete (All Around) – Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias vs. Jim Thorpe
Chapter Two: Band (music) – The Beatles vs. Rolling Stones
Chapter Three: Baseball Player – Babe Ruth vs. Hank Aaron
Chapter Four: Building Designer/Architect – Zaha Hadid vs. Frank Lloyd Wright
Chapter Five: Chess Player – Hou Yifan vs. Gary Kasparov
Chapter Six: Composer – John Williams vs. Ludwig van Beethoven
Chapter Seven: Dancer (Female), Dancer (Male) – Anna Pavlova vs. Janet Jackson, Mikhail Baryshnikov vs. Michael Jackson
Chapter Eight: Electric Guitar Player – Jimi Hendrix vs. B. B. King
Chapter Nine: Hoops Star (Female), Hoops Star (Male) – Maya Moore vs. Anne Meyers, LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan
Chapter Ten: Inventor – Leonardo da Vinci vs. Nikola Tesla
Chapter Eleven: Jazz Soloist – Ella Fitzgerald vs. Miles Davis
Chapter Twelve: Jockey – Angel Cordero Jr. vs. John Velazquez
Chapter Thirteen: Martial Artist – Rickson Gracie vs. Bruce Lee
Chapter Fourteen: Mathematician – Srinivasa Ramanujan vs. Sir Isaac Newton
Chapter Fifteen: MC (Hip-Hop Artist) – Nas vs. Jay Z
Chapter Sixteen: Orator (Public Speaker) – Martin Luther King Jr. vs. Sir Winston Churchill
Chapter Seventeen: Philosopher – Plato vs. Albert Camus
Chapter Eighteen: Quarterback – Joe Montana vs. Tom Brady
Chapter Nineteen: Sci-Fi Franchise – Star Trek vs. Star Wars
Chapter Twenty: Scientist – Marie Curie vs. Albert Einstein
Chapter Twenty-one: Stunt Person – Dar Robinson vs. Jeannie Epper
Chapter Twenty-two: Super Hero Squad – Justice League vs. Avengers
Chapter Twenty-three: TV Moment – Moon Landing vs. Ellen’s Coming-out Episode
Chapter Twenty-four: Video Game – Mario Brothers vs. Pac-Man
Chapter Twenty-five: Villain (Fictional) – Lord Voldemort vs. Joker
Chapter Twenty-six: Wrestler – Mildred Burke vs. Dan Gable
Chapter Twenty-seven: Writer – William Shakespeare vs. Mark Twain
"Greatest of all time” arguments are commonplace among students and a burgeoning subgenre of G.O.A.T. books, particularly sports biographies, bears this out. What sets this title apart is not only the breadth of subjects considered but the debater’s manual included inside. In 27 brief chapters, Volponi doesn’t provide answers so much as he prods readers to consider what exactly is being discussed, what quality or achievement sets a person apart in a given field. In addition, each chapter includes a “Time to Debate” section encouraging readers, for example, to explain their reasoning, anticipate counter-arguments, remain calm and polite, and even to consider style elements like anaphora, the repetition of a word or phrase, such as in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. A few of the figures profiled are less well known (professional wrestler Mildred Burke) and some of the subjects are uncommonly debated (Hollywood stunt people). But there are chapters and arguments for many of the more popular sports and entertainment rivalries, though none for soccer. Photos of many of the subjects, as well as other illustrations, such as stamps depicting Jim Thorpe and Babe Didrikson Zaharias, are present throughout. Included are several pages of source notes and citations. Each chapter is rich with suggestions for further study. Recommended for elementary and middle school libraries. Readers will come for the debates and stay for the critical-thinking skills.
Paul Volponi continues his uber-successful career as an author with The Great GOAT Debate, a playful romp through popular culture that challenges us to debate and come to a conclusion on the ever-present question ‘Who’s the Greatest of All-time?’ Fast-paced and entertaining, this one is sure to entice readers who'll come to its pages for their favorite categories--sports, music, video games, etc. But those readers will also discover who might be the greatest mathematician, architect, philosopher, scientist, and orator as well. A superb premise for a young adult book!
Short passages on diverse topics make this a great read for both reluctant and avid readers. It carries the same kind of appeal as reading the Guinness Book of World Records.
Paul Volponi's conversational style of writing has always resonated with my readers and now The Great GOAT Debate: The Best of the Best in Everything from Sports to Science invites students to use their voices and join that conversation. The short debates are very accessible to students and are accompanied with thoughtfully paired advice on how to improve argument skills. Interesting trivia is also sprinkled throughout. Altogether, this book has the ability to empower students and educators alike to discuss their interests and explore new topics.
The first thing I noticed about this book was the interesting array of diverse topics and GOAT candidates that are spotlighted. I feel students of all backgrounds will be able to find a category and/or candidate that interests them and will inspire them to research other GOATs. It is a great book for reluctant readers because they can "skip around" to read the topics that interest them. I especially enjoyed the engaging "Lightning Debates" that are sprinkled throughout the book as well as the "Fun Fact" boxes that extend the knowledge of a particular topic or GOAT. Teachers and students alike will enjoy the art of debate that are offered in Volponi’s latest book.
From sports, to music, television to video games, scientists to philosophers, Volponi explores a wide range of topics and people in his latest book, The Great GOAT Debate. Kids will recognize some of the names instantly, while a few may be new to them. The point here is not really who’s better, it’s exposing them to a wide variety of amazing people, while learning how to effectively support an argument. This invaluable skill is used every day, in every aspect of our lives. Volponi gives the reader brief debate tips after each entry, and “lightning debates” stage an imaginary scenario where the reader must select the better candidate in a given situation. Without knowing it, the reader is learning how to analyze, prioritize, compare and contrast, separate fact from fiction, and support their point of view while still being passionate. In short, it’s a fun read that kids will not only enjoy, but benefit from.