The best kids’ baseball books about more than baseball

Augusta Scattergood Author Of The Way to Stay in Destiny
By Augusta Scattergood

The Books I Picked & Why

Soar

By Joan Bauer

Soar

Why this book?

I love this story so much I’ve read it at least four times. What an endearing narrator! Everybody needs a friend like Jeremiah with his sense of humor, bravery, and love of life. Bauer always makes us laugh out loud on many pages, then she’ll break your heart for just a sentence or two. While reading and re-reading this middle-grade novel, I learned a lot about how to tell a heartwarming story that makes readers quickly turn pages to see what happens next. But with Bauer’s books, not too quick. You don’t want to miss a word!


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Al Capone Does My Shirts

By Gennifer Choldenko

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Why this book?

A perfect example of baseball books not about baseball. Yes, Moose loves the game, and the prisoners at Alcatraz play it. But Choldenko packs so much story into her novels— backstory, asides, history, and humor. I’ve read every one of the Al Capone books and it’s hard to pick a favorite, but this is the one that started it all. I can still quote the first sentence and I still laugh out loud. I am in total awe of her writing.


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In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

By Bette Bao Lord, Marc Simont

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Why this book?

This novel holds a special place in my book-loving heart. When the third-grade teachers at the school where I was a librarian read it aloud and used it for Literature Circles, it was one of the first books that taught me to listen carefully to what young readers shared about theme and characters and the “heart of the story.” It’s still a gold mine for topics that are relevant today.


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Baseball Saved Us

By Ken Mochizuki, Dom Lee

Baseball Saved Us

Why this book?

It’s been a few years since I shared this picture book with young readers, but I still remember the questions. A terrific discussion starter about immigration, Japanese culture, how we treat our fellow citizens and so much more, this beautifully-illustrated book made me curious about the internment camps. Like so many good stories, it sent me digging for more.


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We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

By Kadir Nelson

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

Why this book?

Open this oversized book to any page and you’ll be captivated by Kadir Nelson’s gorgeous paintings and the words of the players. This remarkable book gave me a sense of how these players, including Henry Aaron for a short stint in the Negro League, faced challenges with courage, strength, and even a sense of fun. This one really is mostly about baseball, but there was so much else going on during the time of Negro League Baseball and the author manages to help us understand the history as well.


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