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Opening Day 2016

It’s Opening Day at Fenway Park! (We can hear the helicopters from the Horn Book office.) Here are some baseball picture books to get you cheering for the ol’ ball game.

mccully_queen of the diamondMcCully, Emily Arnold  Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story
Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Farrar/Ferguson     2015

In the early twentieth century, Lizzie Murphy parlays her love for baseball into a successful career. At eighteen, she seizes an opportunity to play professional ball, where she draws crowds more because of her gender than her considerable skill. She’s denied a salary until she fights for equal pay. Impressionistic ink and watercolor illustrations subtly depict Lizzie as being slightly different from the crowd.

tavares_growing up pedroTavares, Matt  Growing Up Pedro
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Candlewick     2015

Tavares highlights the warm relationship between two baseball greats, brothers Ramón and Pedro Martínez, covering their youth in 1980s Dominican Republic; their signings with the Dodgers; Pedro’s eventual contract with the Red Sox and heroics in the 1999 playoffs; and their present-day return to the Dominican Republic, where they have built churches, schools, and baseball fields. Gouache and watercolor paintings lovingly depict both players.

vernick_kid from diamond streetVernick, Audrey  The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Clarion     2016

Illustrated by Steven Salerno. Edith Houghton was “magic on the field,” a baseball legend of the 1920s. Playing shortstop for the all-women’s professional team the Philadelphia Bobbies, she drew fans to the ballpark with her impressive talent. Besides that, Edith — “The Kid” — was just ten years old. Audrey Vernick relates, in conversational text, Houghton’s life on the team. Appealing digitally colored charcoal, ink, and gouache illustrations evoke a bygone era of baseball.

winter_you never heard of willie maysWinter, Jonah  You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Random/Schwartz & Wade     2013

Illustrated by Terry Widener. This companion to You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!, lenticular cover and all, focuses on African American baseball great Willie Mays. Readers may well feel they’re at the ballpark, witnessing Mays’s signature basket catches, his famous over-the-head catch in center field, and his electrifying base stealing, all captured in Widener’s dynamic acrylic illustrations. A solid, informative, and entertaining sports picture book.

Bill Wise "Silent Star"Wise, Bill  Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy
Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Lee and Low     2012

Illustrated by Adam Gustavson. Wise’s biography covers Hoy’s whole life, including the attack of meningitis that left him deaf at age three, and celebrates the courage and determination it took for Hoy to make it to the major leagues in 1888. Oil illustrations complement the text nicely, providing historical details that will put readers in the games alongside Hoy, imagining the cheers from the stands that Hoy never heard.

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