Baseball is a favorite American pastime, and children’s books about baseball appeal to dedicated players and fans of all ages.
“Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story” by Emily Arnold McCully, 2015, Margaret Ferguson Books, ages 5-8.
Growing up at the turn of the 20th century, Lizzie Murphy was expected to act like a girl, and this did not include playing baseball. Fortunately, Lizzie’s spirit of determination won out, and she not only played baseball with her brother and his friends, Lizzie went on to be the first woman to play in a major league exhibition game and the first person to play on both the National and American leagues’ all-star teams. Watercolor and ink illustrations depict the great sport of baseball during the early 1900’s and the drama and excitement Lizzie added to the game.
“Little Rhino: My New Team” by Ryan Howard & Krystle Howard, 2015, Scholastic, ages 5-7.
Major league baseball player, Ryan Howard, and his wife Krystle, an educator, have teamed up to write a series of easy chapter books featuring young Rhino, an avid baseball fan with the dream of playing in the big leagues one day. Loosely based on Howard’s own experiences growing up with baseball dreams, Rhino finds baseball to be a way to build his confidence, form friendships, and even diffuse the class bully.
“The Contract” by Derek Jeter & Paul Mantell, 2014, Simon & Schuster, 151 pages, ages 8-12.
As a young boy Derek Jeter set his sights on being the shortstop for the New York Yankees. His real life experiences serve as inspiration for this story of Derek’s childhood and his launch into baseball. Derek’s family played a key role in supporting his love of the sport. When told of his baseball goals for the future, his parents wrote a contract. Derek’s signature committed him to being honest, responsible, and hard working and laid the groundwork for the values that made Derek Jeter a positive role model to many baseball fans.
“Out at Home” by Cal Ripken Jr. & Kevin Cowherd, 2015, Disney Hyperion, 202 pages, ages 9-12.
Being the baseball coach’s son has its plusses and minuses, but when his dad becomes enamored with the new star pitcher, Mickey finds himself in a tough spot. As the team’s catcher, Mickey knows hotshot Zoom may look good on the mound, but isn’t the perfect player he pretends to be. But with his dad unaware, Mickey must decide just how much he is willing to put up with to stay on the team. Written by baseball star Cal “The Iron Man” Ripken, former player for the Baltimore Orioles., this story explores the interactions of young players that make for sparks on and off the field.
“Pinstripe Pride: The Inside Story of the New York Yankees” by Marty Appel, 2015, Simon & Schuster, 276 pages, ages 10 and above.
The New York Yankees started out as a scrappy team, with no star players and no stadium to call home. From these humble beginnings has risen one of the most successful teams in major league baseball, including star players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter. “Pinstripe Pride”, an informational book, traces the Yankees’ roots up to the present. Yankee fans and others who enjoy baseball will be enthralled with this narrative, complete with archival images and captivating descriptions of behind the scenes deals, memorable plays, and big games.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler