Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Some Baseball Books for Young Readers

In honor of Opening Day, I decided to peruse my sons' old bookshelves in search of baseball books. My boys are 18 and 21 now, but there was a period when they were around 8 or 9, that these books were their books of choice. I've already written about Dan Gutman's wonderful series about Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson etc. If you haven't checked that out, here's the link. Here are a few more suggestions for the 7 to 12 year old sports lover.

Thank You, Jackie Robinson
Written By: Barbara Cohen
Recommended Ages: 9-12

Thank You, Jackie Robinson
was first published in 1974, and in many ways it's much more than just a "sports book." It takes place in the 1950's and is the story of a young Jewish boy and an older African-American man who share a bond through their love of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson. There are lots of references to the Dodgers of the era, Branch Rickey and Ebbets Field. It's an easy read, which kids will enjoy on their own, or as a read-aloud. It's a touching story, which very well may bring tears to your eyes. I highly recommend it.

The Kid Who Only Hit Homers (Matt Christopher Sports Classics)
Stealing Home (Matt Christopher Sports Fiction)
Baseball Pals (Matt Christopher Sports Classics)

Written by: Matt Christopher
Recommended Ages: 7-12

Matt Christopher wrote sports books for the emerging reader. The ones listed above are only some of his baseball books; he also wrote about football, skate boarding, and basketball. Some of the books may seem a bit dated, as if they came from another era (many were written in the 50's). And yet, that's part of their appeal. They are simple sports stories that will draw the reluctant reader in. If you have a child who loves sports, check out some of his books. You won't be disappointed.

T.J.'s Secret Pitch (AllStar SportStory Series)

Written by: Fred Bowen
Illustrated by: Jim Thorpe
Recommended Ages: 8-12

T.J. wants to pitch, but everyone tells him he's too small. He practices and practices, but due to his size, he can't get quite enough oomph behind his pitches. Then his Grandfather tells him about a famous pitcher-Pittsburgh Pirate Rip Sewell-who perfected a slow pitch called the "eephus pitch." T.J. learns that it's not all about brawn, and that brains play a big part in baseball. There are some nice historical references throughout the book, and a mini biography about Rip Sewell at the end. It's a sweet story with a nice message.

These books are good choices for the young, emerging (somewhat reluctant) reader. I also came across some other baseball books for slightly older readers which I'll save for another post. In the meantime, here's to a great 2010 season. Go Mariners!


max said...

It's so important to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it, especially boys. In fact, I've recently completed a feature magazine article on this subject that came out in October, "Help for Struggling, Reluctant Readers."

I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.

My blog, Books for Boys http://booksandboys.blogspot.com is dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of reading. And my new book, Lost Island Smugglers - first in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series - is coming out in July-August. Contracts are also signed for Captain Jack's Treasure and River Rampage.

Keep up your good work.

Max Elliot Anderson
PS. My first 7 books are going to be republished by Comfort Publishing later in 2010

PragmaticMom said...

I just wanted to offer up that I have a book list of Favorite Books for Reluctant Boy Readers as well as list of favorite Baseball Chapter Books at http://pragmaticmom.com. Hope this helps a reluctant reader find joy in reading.

Pragmatic Mom