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Why Read Shakespeare?

by Miriam Downey 10. January 2014 08:36

It is pretty hard to escape knowing about William Shakespeare in western culture. His works are everywhere; from Shakespeare festivals, to movie adaptations of his plays, to community theater, to required reading for coursework. Why do we read Shakespeare?

First, Shakespeare's characters have a universality to them that transcend the language. When we see one of Shakespeare's characters, we recognize them despite the costume they may be wearing. We know about conniving businessmen, star-crossed lovers, people pretending to be something they are not, soldiers, politicians, and on and on and on. The plays of Shakespeare point out human characteristics that we understand.

Then, we hear phrases from Shakespeare as part of our common English language. Here are some phrases that we hear frequently that we may not know come from Shakespeare's plays.

  • vanished into thin air
  • refused to budge an inch
  • green-eyed jealousy
  • played fast and loose
  • tongue-tied
  • a tower of strength
  •  in a pickle
  • knitted your brow
  • fair play
  • slept not one wink
  • too much of a good thing

Finally, there are illusions to Shakespeare's plays over and over in the movies that we watch. I remember how thrilled I was when I first saw the musical West Side Story and  realized that it was the story of Romeo and Juliet. Did you realize that The Lion King is based on the play Hamlet? Forbidden Planet from 1956 is a science fiction retelling of The Tempest. 10 Things I Hate About You is based on The Taming of the Shrew. Watching any of these movies would be a great follow-up to reading the plays. Of course, there are movie versions of the original plays as well. When I checked YouTube, I realized that full length Shakespeare plays can be found there. Sometimes watching the movie after reading the play helps to understand the play better.

One final note, reading Shakespeare's plays is often a bit difficult for most students when they are first exposed to them. It helps to read the play out loud, especially if you have a couple of people to take the different parts. However, the very best way to understand Shakespeare is to go and see a live production. Many colleges and universities stage Shakespeare plays on a yearly basis as do community theaters. It also helps to read a synopsis of the play before you begin. A great source of the stories is Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare. Although written for children, the stories are great for any age.

All the plays of Shakespeare can be found online at the website The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Here's a plan: read a synopsis of the story in Tales from Shakespeare, then read the play and follow it up with a movie version on YouTube. Look for phrases you recognize and find characters that you can identify with. The experience of reading Shakespeare will be better if you do it with purpose.

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Picture Books to Make You Laugh Out Loud!

by Miriam Downey 31. December 2013 07:42

Start the New Year off with a laugh.

I have been thinking about this posting during the holidays as I observed the things that made my grandchildren laugh. I watched my oldest grandchild making my youngest granddaughter laugh until she cried over his silly faces. I have heard children laughing at the dinner table over goofy jokes. At the same time, I observed my granddaughters watching tween shows on television where the laugh track was going wild but as the watchers, they weren't even cracking a smile. Why is that? Perhaps observing humor is different than participating in humor.

All of the books below are guaranteed to bring out a chuckle from both the reader and the listener. They are sophisticated enough that parents will love them as much as the child. They can all be found at the library or bookstore. They are guaranteed laughs.

I have to add that my special favorites are the books of David Shannon, Mark Teague, Lane Smith, James Marshall, Mo Willems and Dav Pilkey. You can't go wrong with any of their books.

Sooooo! Here's the list!

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Lane Smith

Pigsty by Mark Teague

Click, Clack Moo! Cows that Type! by Doreen Cronin

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka

No, David! by David Shannon

I Want My Hat Back! by Jon Klassen

I Stink by Kate McMullan

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

Imogene's Antlers by David Small

Happy reading! Happy New Year!

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The Snowy Day

by Miriam Downey 16. December 2013 10:51

I don't know where you are, but in Michigan, we have snow. Lots and lots of snow! No worries at all about a white Christmas. In fact, the worry may be that people aren't going to get wherever they were planning to go for Christmas if the snow machine doesn't shut off. Because we live on the East side of Lake Michigan, the cold winter wind comes across the warmer lake and makes snow, which then gets dumped in our yards and on our roads. Winter started very early this year.

It got me looking for some books about snow to share with those of you who don't have any (snow, that is). Here are some of my favorites both fiction and non-fiction to read this winter.

Non-Fiction

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin (Caldecott Medal). This is a biography of the self-taught scientist, Wilson A. Bentley, who was obsessed with snowflakes. He photographed them and wrote a book about them, which is still in use. (grades 1-3).

Ice Story: Shackleton's Lost Expedition by Elixabeth Cody Kimmel. Talk about snow! The 1914 expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton to the polar ice cap is a disastrous survival story. (grades 4-8).

Winter Poems Illustrated by Trina Schart. Poems for the winter season. (grades k-5).

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancock. A simple but scientifically accurate picture book. Answers lots of questions about animals in winter. (grades k-2).

The Winter at Valley Forge: Survival and Victory by James E. Knight. How the worst of nature brought the best in men and turned farmers into soldiers. (grades 3-6).

The Kids Winter Handbook by Jane Drake. Lots of good ideas for celebrating winter. (grades k-6).

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan. This is a true adventure of how Norwegian children on sleds helped save the country's money from the Nazis. An amazing story. (grades 4-8).

Picture Books

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. (Caldecott Medal). The young city child is absolutely enthralled with the beautiful snowy day. (grades k-2).

 Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (Caldecott Medal). A snowy walk through the woods. (grades k-2). There are several read alouds and videos of Owl Moon on YouTube.

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. A book about making snowballs and all the fun things that can be done with them. (grades 1-3).

Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Katy is a big snowplow who clears the way when the town is hit by a huge snowstorm. (grades k- 2). This book has a great symphonic version on YouTube.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. The classic wordless story of a snowman. (grades k-2).

Chapter Books and Read Alouds

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Introduce your child to Laura Ingalls Wilder with her long winter in the Dakota Territory. (grades 2-5).

Woodsong by Gary Paulson. Paulson is another great author to introduce to your children. This is the story of a dogsled race. (grades 4-8).

The Mystery in the Snow (Boxcar Children) by Gertrude Chandler Wagner. The Boxcar Children's winter adventure. A good introduction to this series. (grades 2-5).

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George. (Newbery Award). An exciting adventure story of a young Eskimo girl lost in the wilds of Alaska. (grades 4-8)

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Christmas Read Alouds

by Miriam Downey 25. November 2013 18:36

 

Do you read aloud to your children? Author Jim Trelease has based his whole career on reading aloud to children, young and old. Most of us know the value of reading aloud to younger children, but there is great value in reading aloud to older children as well. He says, "The first reason to read aloud to older kids is to consider the fact that a child's reading level doesn't catch up to his listening level until about the eighth grade." In other words, kids can understand books that are too hard to decode themselves if they are read aloud. "You have to hear it before you can speak it, and you have to speak it before you can read it. Reading at this level happens through the ear."

Trelease says that when children hear a good book read to them they know that if they keep working on their reading, some good things are ahead of them. He calls it "broadening the menu." The joys of reading are ahead of them and the hard work will soon be behind them.

Additionally, reading together is a bonding experience that happens when more than one person is reading the same book.There's time for reflection, for sharing--something great that can be shared every day. Trelease says that shared words have power and an energy that you can't get from TV or the Internet. Children will recall read alouds with fond memories long after the book is finished.

I recall with great affection a Christmas weekend when we had a large family gathering with several elementary aged children. I read aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson after supper each night. It only took a couple of hours altogether, but it was such a wonderful experience for us all. On the third night, they staged the book as a play and had a great time.

Reading aloud a Christmas story might be a way to introduce the whole idea of reading aloud to your children. Here are a few books that can be found online or at the library that would make great read alouds for your whole family. Remember you can read aloud a book that has much greater vocabulary than your youngest child can read. In other words, children understand more words than they can read. Once you get going, you are not going to want to stop. Jim Trelease's book, The Read Aloud Handbook, is a wonderful resource for read aloud books.

We must start with the Nativity story in the Bible. You can find the story in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 2.

Probably the most famous Christmas story after the Bible is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It can easily be found online, and you could follow up the reading by watching the movie.

Then there is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It is available at the library or bookstore.

Here are some other great Christmas stories that are wonderful read alouds. Have fun!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. the Grinch is the great Scrooge of the 20th century.

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. This is a memory of a famous English poet about Christmas in the early years of the 20th century.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore. The famous Christmas poem can be read in one sitting.

Red Ranger Came Calling: A Guaranteed True Christmas Story by Berkeley Breathed. Great read aloud available at the library.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Capote had an unusual childhood, and this story tells of one Christmas in his life.

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The First Thanksgiving in Picture Books

by Miriam Downey 9. November 2013 15:01

 

 

 Our family Thanksgiving has always included many people--some of whom are not family members. We have included friends of our children, college roommates, foreign students, as well as people from church and our community activities who have nowhere else to go. Our feeling has always been "the more the merrier," and I am sure many of you have similar holiday celebrations. Thanksgiving is all about family and tradition.

Besides family members, our Thanksgiving this year will include a young Egyptian couple and a few young students from Saudi Arabia that I tutor. How do I explain Thanksgiving to them? The holiday is so rich in American culture. It is the essence of what makes our country great. I will have to explain why we eat turkey, corn, and cranberry sauce. I will need to explain how the earliest settlers were made welcome by the Native Americans, and how the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to survive in this strange land. It is indeed a marvelous holiday, and it is unique to the United States.

Our guests this year will bring stuffed grape leaves, baklava, and a Saudi dish called Kebsa. We will enjoy these new tastes along with our mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

One of my favorite books for the holidays is Molly's Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen. It completely captures the essence of the holiday. I have included on this list of books a variety of stories for all ages that tell of the origins of the holiday. You will be able to find them at your library or bookstore. Some may be available for Kindle or Nook.

There are three cute Thanksgiving books available online on We Give Books. You will find them on the front page of the website.

 Stories about the First Thanksgiving 

!621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac. Photographs by Cotton Coulson and Sisse Brimberg (Grades 3–5 )
In October of 2000, Plimoth Plantation cooperated with the Wampanoag community to stage an historically accurate reenactment of the 1621 harvest celebration. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving exposes the myth that this event was the "first Thanksgiving" and is the basis for the Thanksgiving holiday that is celebrated today. This exciting book describes the actual events that took place during the three days that the Wampanoag people and the colonists came together.

The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward (Grades PreK–1)
Give young readers the familiar story behind our tradition of Thanksgiving Day, detailed in this easy-to-read history storybook. The Pilgrims' journey, the trials they endure while at sea, and all of their amazing adventures are conveyed with vibrant illustrations and simple words for utmost comprehension.

Pilgrim's First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern (Grades PreK–1)
Full-color illustrations bring to life this historically accurate account of how the children of Plymouth Colony helped contribute to the first Thanksgiving celebration.

Squanto's Journey by Joseph Bruchac (Grades K–3)
Travel back to 1620 as an English ship called the Mayflower lands on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket people. As Squanto welcomes the newcomers and teaches them how to survive in the rugged land they called Plymouth, young readers are treated to a story ending with the two peoples feasting together in the spirit of peace and brotherhood.

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma (Grades 1-4)
Told from a child's perspective and illustrated in full color, this book brings the first Thanksgiving to life. Details about daily life put young readers into the middle of the action.

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern (Grades 1–4)
Answer children's questions about the Pilgrims with an enlightening Thanksgiving story. With the beautiful illustrations, young readers can imagine being right on the ship, waiting to arrive in a new land. As part of the If You series, this book helps bring history to life and nurture imagination.

The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy, 1620  by Ann Rinaldi (Grades 4–8)
By promising seven years of labor to a fellow traveler, Jasper earns passage aboard the Mayflower and closes the door on his troubled past. His account of the arduous ocean crossing and first year in the New World shows young readers his physical and spiritual growth as he learns the strengths and weaknesses in himself, his Puritan people, and his Native American neighbors.

Other Thanksgiving Holiday Stories

Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit  by Norman Bridwell (Grades PreK–2)
What child wouldn't like to have a pet as special as Clifford the Big Red Dog? In this adventure, Clifford experiences an unusual Thanksgiving journey, ending with an appreciation of overcoming difficulties, celebrating tradition, and spending time with family.

Gracias, el Pavo de Thanksgiving  by Joy Crowley (Grades PreK–2)
In this warm holiday story, a young Puerto Rican boy saves the life of his pet turkey with help from his close-knit New York City family and neighborhood. Beginning Spanish vocabulary is woven into the text, giving young readers a unique Thanksgiving story experience.

Molly's Pilgrim  by Barbara Cohen (Grades K–3)
Molly nears her first Thanksgiving in America and her classmates giggle at her Yiddish accent and make fun of her unfamiliar ways. Now her mother embarrasses her with a doll that looks more Russian than Pilgrim. Will Molly discover something to be thankful for?

 

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Some Fun Halloween Picture Books

by Miriam Downey 29. October 2013 19:28

 

Well, it's Halloween. It's one of the most fun times of the year for children. My little granddaughter who is two is trying to figure it out. Really! You go to houses and get candy! How amazing is that!

My father used to tell us about Halloween out in the country in the 1930s. There were more tricks than treats during that era, but by the time I was a child, it was a grand adventure much like it is now. I wrote a blog posting in October of 2012 that you might want to check out. It tells about a visit to Sleepy Hollow in Tarrytown, New York and lists some books about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

I am including this year a list of some funny Halloween picture books for younger children. Check them out!

Here are five Halloween books that are available from We Give Books. You can read them online just by signing in. There is no obligation.

Bug Out! The World's Creepiest, Crawliest Critters by Ginjer Clark

Many Marvelous Monsters by Ed Heck

Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex

Halloween by DK Publishing

H is for Haunted House by Tanya Lee Stone

Here are some other funny Halloween books that you can find at the library or bookstore.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan Berenstain

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting

Space Case by Edward Marshall

Have a safe and fun Halloween

 

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Blog | Libraries, Library Books

Beginning chapter books make good readers

by Miriam Downey 22. October 2013 09:17

Early readers or beginning readers are the earliest "chapter books" that a kid can get. They are short with a few basic words and are broken up into "chapters" of two or three pages. Early readers love them because they feel like they are reading a book with real chapters. These books range from 32 to 60 pages long, with pictures, and most of them have been designed with strict guidelines for vocabulary and sentence structure. They are also graded so that kids can develop their reading skills and become independent readers. Many companies have books for beginning readers; some of these are called Step into Reading, Penguin Young Readers and the I Can Read! books.I would recommend these books for kindergarteners who are reading as well as first and second graders. Unfortunately, you will not find many of these books online, but they are available in libraries and bookstores. I did discover that Amazon has numerous beginning readers in electronic format, either free or for a very small price. You can find additional beginning reader books at We Give Books or other online book sources.

Children love to read about the same characters, like Pinky and Rex or Amelia Bedelia. I highly recommend that if your child finds a series of early readers that he/she likes and find more books from the same series. There is a real comfort level in reading about the same characters, and once your child is familiar with the characters, many of the words come easier.

Recently I had the experience of working with a large publishing company to make a list of the best books for children. In the course of making the list, we found more than 150 extraordinary books that beginning readers will love to read. I will include many of the books from this list today and next week I will add to the list. Happy reading!

 

The Cam Jansen series by David Adler

Dinosaur Hunter by Elaine Marie Alpin

The Snowball by Jennifer Armstrong

Wiggle and Waggle by Caroline Arnold

The Fly Guy series by Tedd Arnold

Fire Cat by Esther Averill

On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green by Keith Baker

The Little Rat series by Monika Bang-Campbell

A Birthday for Bear by Bonny Becker

Sam the Minuteman by Nathaniel Benchley

Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop

Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss

Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner

 I Like Bugs by Margaret Wise Brown

Golly Sisters Go West by Betsy Byars

My Brother, Ant by Betsy Byers

 Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt by David Catrow

Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr

The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr

Big Egg by Molly Coxe

Aunt Eater Loves a Mystery by Doug Cushman

Inspector Hopper by Doug Cushmen

Stinky by Eleanor Davis

Wombat and Fox: Summer in the City by Terry Denton

26 Fairmont Avenue by Tomie de Paola

Snakes by Patricia Deumuth

The Mercy Watson Series by Kate DiCamillo

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

The Quick Brown Fox Cub by Julia Donaldson

Go Dog Go! by P.D. Eastman

Dodsworth in New York by Tim Egan

The Cool Crazy Crickets to the Rescue by David Elliott

Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz

Now I'm Reading: Amazing Annimals by Nora Gaydos

Now I'm Reading: Animal Antics by Nora Gaydos

See the Yak Yak by Charles Ghigna

Chicken Said, "Cluck" by Judy Ann Grant

The Princess Posey series by Stephanie Greene

 

 

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Reading Great Books Online

by Miriam Downey 17. September 2013 08:13

Because Free World U is an online school, parents and students are always looking for great books to read online. Today, I would like to share some of my sources for finding books that are available Free online. Although I have mentioned this in previous postings, copyrights for books last for 75 years. This means that a book is not legally available to be free online until it is 75 years old. The good news is that most literature we consider to be classic may be available online if it has been digitalized.

Occasionally, authors allow their out-of-print books to appear on book websites, or occasionally books by publishers that have gone out of business will also show up on free websites. This is particularly true of picture books. There are websites of out-of-print short stories as well.

 

Here are some places to find free ebooks

The most prominent place to find classic ebooks is Project Gutenberg. Thousands of out-of-print books and books whose copyrights have expired can be found on Project Gutenberg. Let's consider Mother Goose rhymes as an example. If you are looking for a book of Mother Goose rhymes, you would type "Mother Goose" in the Gutenberg's book catalog search and up would come a listing of all the editions of Mother Goose rhymes that are available in their database. There are many choices, and after you pick the one you want, you can either read the book online or download it to your computer or device.

Another way to access classic books is to go to Amazon and search for the title. Recently, I was looking for Wuthering Heights for my Kindle. I went to Amazon and was able to choose the free version which then downloaded to my Kindle. The process is the same as going to the Project Gutenberg website.

My favorite source for online picture books is We Give Books. For every picture book read online, a book is sent to a prominent charity. I notice more and more current books appearing on this website. For instance, the great children's book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper can be found on We Give Books. Another site for classic books is Lit To Go. The site is sponsored by the University of South Florida, and it has a lot of Spanish editions as well as English editions. It also has books on audio.

Starfall is a website that has a lot of easy reader books for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Starfall utilizes phonics and simple stories to teach reading. The stories are cute, and the settings are fun.

Another great source for online reading is East of the Web. This is a site for short stories, which are arranged by categories, including children's stories, crime, fiction, horror, humor, nonfiction, romance, sci-fi, and interactive. It is very user friendly and a delight for the reader.

Perhaps you have discovered another source of online literature that I haven't discussed. Send me a comment, and I will check it out and post it on this blog.

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A New Year in the Library

by Miriam Downey 4. September 2013 17:32

I want to welcome new students to the library at Free World U. Every week or so, I will post an article about books that I consider to be significant or important for students to read. I will also include websites that will be of interest as they relate to subjects in the curriculum. About a year ago, I spent three months working with a group of librarians creating a list of 3000 books that we all considered to be the best books written for children and teenagers. This year, I will highlight those books in my blog postings. Stay tuned for some delightful books, old and new.

I thought it might be helpful at the beginning of another school year to remind us all about where the suggested library books are on the FWU website.

Over the past year, I have added books in two kinds to the library--books that can be found on the Internet and books that can be purchased or found at your local library. The two categories are Online Books and Other Great Books. The books that will be found online are primarily the classics. Copyrights generally last for 75 years. That means if your eighth grader wants to read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, which was published in 2006, he/she is most likely not going to find it on the Internet. If it can be found, it is probably a pilfered or pirated copy of the book, and it will be taken down from the Internet as soon as it is discovered by the author or the publisher. You can buy the paperback at the bookstore, purchase the e-book, or visit your local library to check it out.

On the other hand, if your child wants to read Aesop's Fables or Anne of Green Gables, both of these books are available online since the copyrights have expired, and the books are in the public domain. Those classic books can be read online from Project Gutenberg or downloaded free to your computer, Nook, Kindle, or other device. You can find more information about downloading free books on my blog posting, which can be found here.

The other part of the library website includes Research Resources, a listing of websites that can help students with research questions and includes links to the websites. Like the library books, this resource is fluid, and websites are added and subtracted as necessary.

I welcome your comments and your questions. As the librarian, I am here to help with book questions, comments about blog postings, and references for research. I have had 30 years of experience in K-12 libraries, and I love to be of help to the students and parents of Free World U.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

by Miriam Downey 25. July 2013 07:02

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today about baseball games between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The game last Sunday took 4 hours and 46 minutes. This caused me to ponder about the kind of people who could sit at a baseball game for 4 hours and 46 minutes. Lots of people, apparently. The article also noted that it takes 3 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Fenway Park in Boston to Yankee Stadium in New York--an hour longer to play a game than to drive to the game!

Of course, Americans love baseball. True fans will tell you that the game has nothing to do with the action and everything to do with the mind games that are part of the sport's intrigue. I was very interested in the movie "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt, that detailed the strategy of a baseball team manager to create a winning team. That movie was based on a book by Michael Lewis called Moneyball:The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. My teenage grandson who is fascinated by sports statistics really enjoyed both the book and the movie.

There are many biographies of baseball heroes--many more than I can put in this short blog posting. Pick a baseball here and there's a biography about him. I can also recommend novels by Matt Christopher, Duane Decker, and John Tunis for kids who just can't read enough sports books. Another fun series is the Southside Sluggers Baseball Mysteries by Daniel Greenberg.

Here are some other baseball books that are well worth reading. All of them can be found at your local library or bookstore.

Biographies of Baseball Greats

Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler (grades k-3). The moving story of a baseball hero who died too young.

My Greatest Day in Baseball by Eliot Cohen (grades 4-8). Short biographies of 38 of the greatest baseball players.

Teammates by Peter Golenbock (grades k-6). When Branch Rickey recruited Jackie Robinson to play baseball.

When Willard Met Babe Ruth by Donald Hall (easy reader). In 1917, Willard met Babe Ruth and sparked the interest of three generations of his family.

Fiction

The Longest Home Run by Roch Carrier (easy reader). A girl hits the longest home run ever. Very fun book.

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 (K-6) A Caldecott award winner illustrated by Christopher Bing makes the old poem new again.

Heart of a Champion and Painting the Black by Carl Deuker (grades 9-12). Coming of age novels with baseball as the theme.

Grandmas at Bat by Emily McCully (grades k-3). Grandmas are the coaches of the kids' baseball team.

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki (grades k-6). Children in a Japanese internment camp during World War II create baseball teams to pass the time.

MadCat by Kathy Mackel (grades 9-12). A novel about high school softball.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord (grades 4-6). A delightful story about a Chinese immigrant girl who becomes fascinated with Jackie Robinson and baseball.

Heat by Mike Lupica (grades 4-6). Michael dreams of being a professional baseball player.

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella (grades 9-12). The classic baseball story that became the movie "Field of Dreams."

Nonfiction

An Inside Look at Spring Training by Joan Anderson (grades 4-6). A photo essay about spring training through the eyes of a batboy.

The Super Book of Baseball by Ron Berler (grades 4-6). Everything you wanted to know about baseball.

Careers in Baseball by Howard Blumenthal (grades 9-12). What are the options for people who might want a career in baseball?

The All American Girls Professional Baseball  League by Margot Galt (grades 4-6). For twelve years there was a professional women's baseball league. The movie "A League of Their Own" came from that era.

Latinos in Beisbol by James Cockcroft (grades 9-12). Discusses the history of Latinos in American baseball.

Baseball in the Barrios by Henry Horenstein (grades k-3). How baseball is played in Venezuela.

 

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