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August 10, 2016


Every month, TAB editor Kristin will be sharing her thoughts on five titles from our… Read More

June 1, 2016

Reader Up!

The smell of freshly cut grass, the buzz of the crowd, the umpire bellowing “batter up,” and the crack of the bat! That’s right, it’s that time of year again: the opening of the Major League Baseball season. (I know there was already an Opening Day game in Japan, so for those keeping track, we can just call this Opening Day 2.0.) Baseball is one of America’s greatest pastimes, and for many kids across the country, this is a big day! The dark, cold days of winter are passing and they can look ahead to the joys of summer.

As a kid, I loved Opening Day and I loved sports. I remember going to the minor league games in my hometown with my Matt Christopher books in one hand and my glove in the other. For me, novels about sports were a gateway into reading. This is still true today for many boys and reluctant readers out there. The authors may have changed, but the elements of sports novels are still as appealing as ever!

A lot of great novels about baseball for kids have been released lately. In celebration of Opening Day, we thought we’d highlight a few!

Hothead by Cal Ripken Jr.
Available in TAB April: (Parents | Teachers)

The Iron Man, Cal Ripken Jr., is a legend! Even though he hasn’t been playing baseball for a while now, he is still having an impact on kids all over America. And now, he’s taken his talents to the page with his new book, Hothead, which focuses on a boy named Connor who is the all-star on his Babe Ruth team. Connor can do everything—throw, hit, field. The only problem is his temper. He has some issues going on at home that are boiling over onto the field. But when his temper might get him kicked off the team, Connor realizes he has to clean up his act. Can he do it in time to get his teammates to like him—and win the championship against the best team in the league? Cal Ripken Jr. has created a novel that kids will love, which also deals with issues of friendship and sportsmanship.

Plunked by Michael Northrop
Available in Arrow April: (Parents | Teachers)

A former reporter and editor for Sports Illustrated Kids, Michael Northrop is a natural at writing about baseball for kids—and he definitely knocks this one out of the park! Plunked follows a boy named Jack who thinks he has everything figured out—his batting routine, his fielding—to earn a starting spot on the baseball team. But when he gets hit by a stray pitch and can’t play baseball for a while, his world gets turned upside down. Now he has to imagine himself as something other than a baseball player. Who will he sit with at lunch? What can he talk about besides baseball? And once he makes a full recovery, can he overcome his fear of getting hit by another pitch? A great coming-of-age story about family and friendship centered around baseball, Plunked is a winner for middle-grade readers!

Roberto & Me by Dan Gutman
Available in Arrow April: (Parents | Teachers)

Dan Gutman is at it again with another installment in his awesome Baseball Card Adventure series. This time, Stosh travels into the past to meet Roberto Clemente, a legendary ballplayer and a beloved humanitarian. Stosh has only one goal: warning Roberto not to get on the doomed plane that will end his life in a terrible crash. Traveling back to the sixties allows Stosh to meet a lot of interesting characters. This is a great addition to the series—and you don’t have to read the other books in the series to enjoy this one. It’s perfect for sports fans as well as kids looking for an adventure read.

These are just a few of our favorite books that are new this spring. We’d love to hear what yours are.

Reader up and play ball!


Featured Baseball Image © LennyBaker

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