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Mrs. Carter’s Hot Reads of the Week: Play Ball!

Mrs. Carter’s favorite sport is back!  In fact, many of Mrs. Carter’s favorite books and stories feature baseball.  Here are just a few:

Picture Books

1562455Coming Home: The Story of Josh Gibson Home Run Hitter by Nannette Mellage

He hit more home runs than Mark McGwire, Babe Ruth, or Hank Aaron. He was the best in the game, yet he was never allowed to play in the Major Leagues. And he died just four months before Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier. His name was Josh Gibson, and Coming Home is his incredible story.  One of Mrs. Carter’s favorite picture books of all time.  (Publisher’s Description)

41BH92z+49L._SL500_SX285_The Bat Boy and His Violin by Gavin Lewis

Reginald loves to create beautiful music on his violin. But Papa, manager of the Dukes, the worst team in the Negro National League, needs a bat boy, not a “fiddler,” and traveling with the Dukes doesn’t leave Reginald much time for practicing. Soon the Dukes’ dugout is filled with Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach — and the bleachers are filled with the sound of the Dukes’ bats. Has Reginald’s violin changed the Dukes’ luck — and can his music pull off a miracle victory against the powerful Monarchs?  Another of Mrs. Carter’s favorite stories, The Bat Boy and His Violin will appeal to everyone, not just baseball fans.

979900Teammates by Peter Golenb0ck

Another of Mrs. Carter’s favorite picture books, this book tells the story of how Pee Wee Reese, as captain of the Brooklyn Dodgers, decided to take a stand and accepted a new player to the team.  That player?  Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in baseball.  This book is a must read for anyone interested in baseball, baseball history, or the Civil Rights movement.  (P.S. It would make a great book to read before going to see the movie 42.  The movie is great, but does have some language and violence that was commonly for the period.)

523925Satchel Paige by Lesa Cline-Ransome

No one pitched like Leroy “Satchel” Paige. Fans packed the stands to see how many batters he could strike out in one game. He dazzled them with his unique pitching style, and he even gave nicknames to some of his trademark pitches — there was the “hesitation,” his magic slow ball, and the “bee ball,” named because it would always “be” where he wanted it to be. Follow Satch’s career through these beautiful illustrations as he begins playing in the semipros and goes on to become the first African American to pitch in a major League World Series, and the first Negro Leaguer to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  (Publisher’s description)

Chapter Books

n367524Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly

This is a great beginning chapter book mystery series where each story is set in a different ballpark.  Baseball is unique in that while the infield of each park has identical dimensions, the outfields and stands of each team’s park has their own dimensions and personality which affect the game.  There’s the Green Monster of Boston’s Fenway, McCovey Cove at AT&T Park in San Francisco, the ivy covered walls of Wrigley Field in Chicago, and many more examples.  Learn more about the history of each team and their parks in this fun beginning chapter book series.  Titles include:  The Fenway Foul-up, The Pinstripe Ghost, The L.A. Dodger, The Astro Outlaw, The All-Star Joker, The Wrigley Riddle, and The San Francisco Splash.

549849Finding Buck McHenry by Alfred Slote

Mrs. Carter loves this book!  It’s a great realistic modern story while paying homage to the rich and sometimes disturbing history of the game.

The coach says that Jason thinks more about baseball-card collecting than baseball playing. Now Jason will have to play on the Little League’s not-yet-formed expansion team – the reject team – which doesn’t even have a coach. But Jason’s got a plan to turn his luck around. He’s found a sponsor and a couple of good key players. Now all he needs is a great coach. That’s where school custodian Mack Henry comes in. Mr. Henry is perfect for the job: he knows a lot about baseball – and he knows exactly what a kid should do to improve his game. Jason’s also noticed an interesting coincidence: back when black players were excluded from the majors, a guy named Buck McHenry was one of the greatest pitchers in the Negro Leagues. Mack Henry… Buck McHenry. Is it possible? Could Mr. Henry be the legendary baseball player? (Publisher’s Description)

12026248Cal Ripken, Jr.’s All-Stars Series by Cal Ripken, Jr. with Kevin Cowherd

Major League Hall of Famer and consecutive games played record holder, Cal Ripken, Jr. has begun a series of books based on his own little league and middle school ball experiences.  The first book in the series is Hothead.

Connor Sullivan is an All-Star shortstop on his Babe Ruth team, the Orioles. He can hit and field with the best of them, but he’s got one big problem: his temper. When he strikes out or makes an error, he’s a walking Mt. Vesuvius, slamming batting helmets and throwing gloves. His teammates are starting to avoid him, even his best friend Jordy. His coach is ready to kick him off the team.

To make matters worse, things aren’t much better at home. His dad is having trouble finding a new job after being laid off. Money is tight. Connor’s dream of attending the prestigious Brooks Robinson Baseball Camp this summer seems like just that now – a dream.

When the sports editor of the school paper threatens to do a big story on his tantrums – complete with embarassing photos – Connor realizes he has to clean up his act. But can he do it in time to regain his teammates’ trust and help the Orioles win the championship against the best team in the league?

Sequel:  Super Sized Slugger