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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.

 

Tags:

Blog | English | Libraries, Library Books

Sports Biographies

by Miriam Downey 15. January 2013 07:30

We continue our month of great biographies with some biographies and autobiographies about famous athletes. Sports books are often the best way to get boys to read, but I also included some inspiring biographies about women athletes as well. Forgive me, but I had to include a new book written by Derek Jeter, shortstop of the Yankees. He is one of our hometown heroes and does a lot of good in our community with his Turn To Foundation.  Every year he comes to town and meets and talks with many of our community's children. Year after year, he inspires children to do their best.

That is what the best children's biographies do--serve as inspiration to readers. You can find short biographies of athletes on many websites. Here are just a couple of good ones: Ducksters.com and Biography.com. Biography.com has videos on the site which will be helpful for reluctant readers, but there are also advertisements on the site.

PB means picture book or easy reader; MR means middle reader (grades 408) and YA means high school readers.

Most of these books can be found at your local library. Some are available for your ereader. Enjoy!

General

MR Lives of the Athletes: Thrills, Spills (And What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull. The lives of 20 famous athletes.

Baseball

PB  Teammates by Peter Golenbock. Tells the story of the friendship between Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.

PB Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth by Robert Burleigh. Biography of the first great baseball player.

MR  Heroes of Baseball  by Robert Lipsyte.  Short biographies of several baseball players.

MR  A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson by Michelle Y. Green. Mamie Johnson was one of only three women to play pro baseball in the Negro Leagues.

YA  The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams by Derek Jeter. An autobiography by the famous New York Yankees pitcher.

Basketball

PB  Salt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Roslyn Jordan. A picture book of the famous basketball player.

MR  Michael Jordan: A Life Above the Rim by Robert Lipsyte. The true story of the amazing athlete.

YA  My Losing Season: A Memoir by Pat Conroy. A famous author tells about his last season as a college basketball player.

YA  Counting Coup by Larry Colton.  A winning season on a girl's basketball team made up of Native American and White teenage girls.

Football

PB  Family Huddle by Peyton Manning. A family story from the childhood of Peyton Manning.

MR  Sports Illustrated Football's Greatest by the editors of Sports Illustrated. Short biographies of famous football players.

YA  Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger. A town shaped by its football team.

YA  Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer. The biography of the football player turned soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

Hockey

PB  Hockey Hotshots: Young Stars of the NHL by Steele Filipek.  Easy reader profile of NHL players.

MR  Sidney Crosby: Hockey Superstar by Matt Doeden. How Crosby became a Stanley Cup champion.

MR  On the Ice with Wayne Grettzky by Matt Christopher. The life of the legendary hockey player.

Soccer

PB Hope Solo: My Story by Hope Solo.  An autobiography for young readers.

MR  The Beautiful Game: The World's Greatest Players and How Soccer Changed Their Lives by Tom Watts. Profiles of several of the world's best players.

YA  Messi: The Inside Story of the Boy Who Became a Legend by Luca Laioli. Lional Messi is only 24, and he is already a legend.

Track and Field

PB Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull. Picture book biography of the famous runner.

YA  Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan. For four years Pre was the best runner in the U.S,

YA  The Best that I Can Be by Rafer Johnson. Tells the classic athletic story about hard work, success, and glory.

Other Sports

MR  Hawk: Occupation Skateboarder by Tony Hawk. A memoir by the famous skateboarder.

MR  The Greatest: Muhammad Ali by Walter Dean Myers. An illustrated biography of the boxing great.

YA  I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler by Ted Lewin. The children's author tells about an unusual year in his life.

YA Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox. The adventures of a long-distance swimmer.

 

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