Two baseball-related books:
Six Innings, by James Preller. 2009 ALSC Notable Children’s Books. The setting of this story, told from multiple viewpoints, is at the Little League championship game. Intermixed are several interwoven stories about several of the players themselves. What I really liked is even the other team’s players, including the feared pitcher, is treated with some respect and humanity. Also mixed in is the story of two best friends, Sam and Mike, and how the former’s diagnosis of cancer has affected that friendship. A very sweet, balanced story that baseball fans and those who have played baseball will enjoy. My one quibble is that the story is told from too many points of view, and I know I had trouble keeping the characters straight. At the very least, there should have been dividers or something to designate the frequent view changes.
We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, by Kadir Nelson. 2009 Sibert Medal. Another good book for baseball fans, second grade and up (and yes, kids at heart). Nelson puts together a winner with this beautifully illustrated book on the Negro League. Told through a sort of “everyman” baseball player, the reader is introduced to the major players and people who made the league possible, from Rube Foster, who was instrumental for getting the teams organized in the 1920s; to the various players such as Oscar Charleston, Willie Foster and Josh Gibson. The book then goes through the history and eventual dissolvement, after Jackie Robinson went to the major leagues.