Kiddosphere: Play Ball!
Baseball season is here! Okay, it’s still pre-season, but games are happening! I don’t know about you, but my football teams had dismal seasons, so I am so ready to cheer on my Nationals. If you want books that will inspire a future MLB player or fan, we have many fantastic books that you need to read! So grab your peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and read on. I had a hard time whittling down my choices, so each book will have a brief annotation.
General Awesomeness of Baseball
Baseball Is is a fabulous tribute to the history of baseball and its great stars; it ends with tantalizing the reader with dreams of his/her favorite team winning the World Series. This would be a great read aloud for elementary school students.
I love cross-cultural books, so Take Me Out to the Yakyu is a top favorite. Through the eyes of an American child with Japanese and Caucasian parents, readers learn how baseball is both similar and quite different in Japan and the United States.
Heroes of Baseball History
Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man is a poignant picture book biography of the great player who showed strength and courage in the face of ALS.
Sharon Robinson has written several books about her father, Jackie Robinson. Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America is a comprehensive and personal account of the great player.
Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major League Leaguer William Hoy introduces young fans to William Hoy, the first deaf player to have a lengthy career in professional baseball.
I’m a big fan of the Who Was (and its offsprings) series, as are many patrons; they are ideal for young elementary school students. Who Was Roberto Clemente? is a fine overview of the player/humanitarian who was tragically cut down in his prime.
Jonah Winter’s nonfiction titles are witty but with tons of facts crammed into a respectful manner; You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax and You Never Heard of Willie Mays? are two critically acclaimed kid-friendly reads (that would work well as read alouds for elementary school students) about two players that showed integrity in the face of adversity,
Pride Through Play
Barbed Wire Baseball, Baseball Saved Us, and A Diamond in the Desert are moving and eye-opening tales of the vital importance of baseball games in Japanese-American internment camps during World War II.
The Bat Boy and His Violin, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, and Fair Ball! 14 Great Stars From Baseball’s Negro League are must-reads for those wanting to learn more about the Negro Leagues.
A League of Their Own
The short-lived all-women’s league is one of the most fascinating aspects of baseball history. Mama Played Baseball and A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League are memorable reads perfect for National Women’s History Month! And yes, we do have one of the BEST sports movies ever, A League of Their Own (There’s no crying in baseball!)
Here’s to another exciting baseball season!
For book lists, reviews and staff suggestions for children published prior to January 2015, visit Kiddosphere, our blog about children/young adult fiction and non-fiction.
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library