We're taking a break from our look at the Outstanding Books for the College Bound list because tonight is the first night of the world series. Batter up! Here are some books about baseball.
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz. 9 generations of a family, 9 short stories from each one, 9 innings of baseball. We meet the garment industry workers on Lower East Side tenements in the 1840s, Civil War soldiers, numbers runners, and All-American Girls Baseball League players. The Schneiders move from Manhattan to Brooklyn, they change their name to Snider, baseball is codified as a sport, the Dodgers move to LA. The family confronts racism in baseball and is the victim of anti-semetism. They fear the Russians and Sputnik, and one of them pitches a perfect game.
My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger. Told in three voices-- TC, his best friend Augie, and the new girl, Ale. They tell the story of their freshman year, of Mary Poppins, and the Red Sox, as they and their family find love and acceptance.
Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge. When Kevin gets mono, he's devastated that he'll miss the baseball season. After snagging his father's poetry book, he starts writing about his feelings about missing the team, girls, and the fact that his mother recently passed away. Follow it with Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs.
Summerland by Michael Chabon. In the Summerlands it never rains and is always warm. It's a borderland between two worlds, and it's threatened by destruction, unless Ethan can save it. But the quest involves a lot of baseball, and Ethan's not a good player.
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga. Josh is obsessed with baseball stats and is facing the biggest game of his high school career. He likes a girl, but doesn't trust his instincts around her. And Eve, the history teacher who molested him years ago is about to get out on parole.
Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Peña. With a Mexican father and white mother, Danny has never felt like he fits in. When he's in his predominately white neighborhood and school, he's just that Mexican kid, but when he goes down to National City to spend the summer with his father's family, he's the white kid. He can pitch, but has no control, and chokes everytime it counts.
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane. Molly wants to be known for something besides tragedy-- her father died in a car accident 6 months ago and her mother's paralyzed with grief. When he was alive, her dad taught Molly how to throw a perfect knuckleball, so she decides to join the boy's baseball team.
Gold Dust by Chris Lynch. When a new kid, the Dominican immigrant, Napoleon, starts at his school, baseball obsessed Richard wants to turn him from a cricket player into a baseball player, thinking it will help them get through everything, including the racism that Napoleon encounters at the school.
A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson by Michelle Y. Green. All Mamie Johnson wanted was to play ball, but baseball was a white man's game and she was a black woman. Despite the odds, she kept at it and eventually became one of the female players in the Negro Leagues. This one's more middle grade than teen, but it's a great story that teens will still appreciate.
What are your favorite baseball reads? Who are you rooting for tonight?
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