Molly’s a pitcher. Her eighth grade year she does something a little different. She tries out for the boys baseball team instead of the girl’s softball team. When she shows up for try-outs, Molly brings her secret weapon, a weapon that comes as a suprise to the other boys trying out as well as her coaches. Molly can throw a floating knuckleball (a butterfly). And she can throw it hard.
But this story is about much more than a girl trying out for a usually all-boys team. Boys’ baseball isn’t the only thing different about Molly’s eighth grade year. This year, she has to learn how to do everything, including baseball, without her Dad, who died in a car accident before the school year began. Molly’s Mom is barely holding it together herself, which is hard, because now it’s like Molly’s lost both parents.
Molly is pretty honest about how she feels about her Mom. At one point Molly imagines telling her, “I love you and all that, but right now everything about you bothers me.” And it isn’t that Molly doesn’t love her Mom, it’s that her Mom isn’t her Dad, and the Mom she once knew is now different. The best part about this book is how intensely honest Molly is. She also has a best friend, Celia, who is the same way and is the only person Molly knows who still treats her like Molly, not like “Miss Difficulty Overcome.” It’s Celia that keeps Molly talking about her feelings so that she can deal with them. It’s Celia that nudges Molly and her Mom toward each other again.
To make the story even better, the baseball part is realistic – the boys are competitive and the games are intense. Some of the boys are not happy at all about Molly making the team. When Lonnie steps forward to give Molly someone to pitch to, he turns out to be a really good friend too. Author: Mick Cochrane
I told you about this book a few months ago already, but since it just won the Coretta Scott King Award, I thought I would show it to you again. It is great words and great pictures together -the perfect book!
I’m not really into baseball very much and I loved this book! It is the story of Negro League baseball. Did you know that there was a league in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s for African-American players because they were not allowed to play in the Major Leagues? This book is the story of those players and the league they made great that only came to an end when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League baseball. The story is told like you are listening to an old player remember. The narrator tells about how the league was formed, who the owners, managers and players were…but more. The narrator doesn’t just list the facts. There are many sad, surprising, horrifying, funny & interesting stories about the players and what they endured to play baseball. On top of that, the pictures in the book are astounding! The author/artist, Kadir Nelson, did a lot of reasearch to get the ballparks and players, uniforms and other details just right. It is like looking at painted photos from someone who was actually there. This is a good one. Don’t miss it. Author: Kadir Nelson
Negro League Baseball: theIndianapolis Clowns (And who played for them? None other than Hank Aaron…who writes a great foreword to this book. Aaron says, “I know that I wouldn’t have made it in baseball had these legends not paved the way for me.”
House Jackson, team captain and star pitcher of the Aurora County All-Stars, loves baseball. He’s had a bum year nursing a broken elbow – an elbow broken by his least favorite girl in the world, Frances Shotz. While sitting out the last season, House’s father ropes home into reading classic books outloud to a bed bound old guy the other kids call “mean man Boyd”. The thing is, House likes Mr. Norwood Rhinehart Beauregard Boyd. Embarrassed about how he’s spent his time, House manages to keep his reading aloud secret, until Mr. Boyd dies and leaves House a note that sets in motion the revelation of several town secrets. The secrets unravel as Frances and House battle over which event will occur on July fourth, the town’s bicentennial pageant or the annual fourth of July baseball game. Author: Deborah Wiles
Michael is a pitching phenom with dreams of taking his team to the Little League World Series. Afraid of being separated in foster care, or worse, sent back to Cuba, Michael and his brother have been keeping their father’s death a secret from all but those closest to them. As the baseball season becomes more intense, a rival questions Michael’s age and insists that he show a birth certificate to prove he is not too old for little league. With no way to prove his age, no birth certificate, and no parent to stick up for him, Michael’s dream is on the line. Author: Mike Lupica