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Baseball Books

Ages 6-9
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POEM RUNS: BASEBALL POEMS AND PAINTINGS
by Douglas Florian
From the first pitch to the last out and all nine innings between, Douglas Florian’s collection of baseball poems brings wordplay, wit, and laughter to America’s springtime tradition. Featuring a mean-armed pitcher, a daisy-picking right fielder, and a lightning-swift base stealer, Poem Runs combines irresistible language and Florian’s signature child-friendly, bold illustration style in this celebration of the magic of baseball.

Ages 4-8
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Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
by Audrey Vernick
The Acerra family had sixteen children. Twelve of them were boys, and they all played baseball. It was the 1930s, and many families had lots of kids. But only one had enough to field a baseball team... with three on the bench! The Acerras loved the game, but more important, they cared for and supported each other and stayed together as a team. Nothing life threw their way could stop them. This is their amazing story.

6-8
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All Star: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever
by Jane Yolen, James Burke, Illustrator
The Honus Wagner baseball card is the most valuable baseball card of all time! But he was born poor, ugly, bow-legged, and more suited to shoveling coal in his Pennsylvania mining town than becoming the greatest shortstop of all time. How could it happen? Did those strong arms and fast legs turn him into a Pittsburgh Pirate and one of the game's most unforgettable players?

“...he did it all without drugs or fancy training programs or million-dollar incentives—just for the pure love of the game.” Wit, talent, perseverance, and passion score more than home runs. As Honus would say, "How about that!"

You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter
Ages 7-10
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YOU NEVER HEARD OF SANDY KOUFAX?!
by Jonah Winter
In this striking picture book biography, an old-timer tells us what made Sandy Koufax so amazing. We learn that the beginning of his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers was rocky, that he was shy with his teammates, and experienced discrimination as one of the only Jews in the game. We hear that he actually quit, only to return the next season—different—firing one rocket after another over the plate. We watch him refuse to play in the 1965 World Series because it is a Jewish high holy day. And we see him in pain because of an overused left arm, eventually retiring at the peak of his career. Finally, we are told that people are still “scratchin’ their heads over Sandy,” who remains a modest hero and a mystery to this day. Accompanied by sidebars filled with statistics, this is a grand slam book.




Heroes of Baseball
All Ages
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HEROES OF BASEBALL: THE MEN WHO MADE IT AMERICA'S FAVORITE GAME
by Robert Lipsyte
TY COBB. CHRISTY MATHEWSON. SHOELESS JOE JACKSON. BABE RUTH. LOU GEHRIG. JACKIE ROBINSON. JOE DIMAGGIO. MICKEY MANTLE. WILLIE MAYS. DUKE SNIDER. TED WILLIAMS. CURT FLOOD. ROBERTO CLEMENTE. HANK AARON.

Their names echo through the halls of time and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Their feats are legendary. They never quit, and they never backed down. They inspired generations of Americans to push themselves to do their very best. They were, and remain, the heroes of baseball.

Hitting monster home runs, pitching perfect games, making impossible catches, and stealing home during the World Series -- these are the kinds of feats that turn baseball players into baseball superstars. But it takes more than great feats to become a hero of the game.

Every generation needs its own heroes, and in each generation that need is answered differently. Heroes reflect the times and societies in which they live and work. The impact made by baseball's heroes affects the way our society perceives itself, as well as the goals we set for ourselves and for our nation. Award-winning sportswriter Robert Lipsyte presents his vision for who the heroes of the game are, and what they did to achieve their legendary status.

Take Me Out To the Ball Game
Ages 4 and Up
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by Jim Burke
In this rendering of the beloved song Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Jim Burke captures an exciting era of America's favorite pastime - as well as the incredible story of one controversial contest that went down in the history books: In 1908, the year the anthem was written, one of the all-time most memorable match-ups in baseball history occurred when the New York Giants faced the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs with their greatest weapon - Christy Mathewson, the greatest pitcher in Giants history and America's first true sports superstar.
Filled with fan-pleasing trivia and nostalgic paintings, here is a remarkable orchestration that brings the sights, sounds and smells of the ballpark, a century ago, vividly to life.
Casey at the Bat
Ages 10 Up
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CASEY AT THE BAT
by Ernest L. Thayer; Joe Morse, Illustrator
Visions in Poetry is an exciting and unique series of classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists in stunning hardcover editions. Casey at the Bat, the fourth book in the series, is more than a poem about a proud and mighty slugger who strikes out during the big game. It is a slice of baseball lore, as much a part of the game as hot dogs and the seventh-inning stretch. Illustrator Joe Morse sets the poem on gritty urban streets with a multiracial cast of characters. It's a startlingly fresh approach that not only revives the poem for a new generation, but also brings it new richness and depth.
Jackie's Bat
Ages 7-11
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JACKIE'S BAT
by Marybeth Lorbiecki, Illustrated by Brian Pinkney
Joey, the batboy for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, learns a hard lesson about respect for people of different races after Jackie Robinson joins the team.
"I had two distinct reactions to Jackie's Bat. First, it is an engaging story well told, and a clear message for children who have been taught to discriminate. My second and most powerful reaction is dismay over the continuing need to address the damage done to children as prejudice and racism taint their world and perceptions.

It is my hope that young readers, with adult encouragement, will be inspired to sense the need for change within themselves and their families, or will feel proud of their enlightened attitudes."


-- Rachel Robinson, wife of the late great Jackie Robinson and founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation

More Great Titles!

Hammerin' Hank: The Life of Hank Greenberg (Ages 5-8) - The 1930s were a time when “outsiders” were not welcome in Major League Baseball. Henry Benjamin Greenberg began as one of those outsiders, but went on to become one of baseball’s greatest right-handed batters.
Hammerin’ Hank dominated baseball from 1933 to 1948 and was eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But Hank Greenberg was more than an amazing athlete. While Jews had been playing baseball since the 1800s, Hammerin’ Hank was baseball’s first Jewish superstar.


Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields
All Ages
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Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields
by Lynn Curlee
If you love baseball, chances are you love one particular ballpark. Boston fans wax poetic about Fenway Park. Cubs fans are adamant that Wrigley Field is the classic ballfield. Busch Stadium is a hit with folks from Missouri, and Yankee fans are passionate about the House That Ruth Built....

Besides passionate fans, there's one other thing all ballparks -- from the Union Grounds in Brooklyn built in 1862 to the Baltimore Oriole's Camden Yards built in 1992 -- have in common: Each has its own vibrant and unique history.

In Ballpark, Sibert Honor Award winner Lynn Curlee explores both the histories and the cultural significances of America's most famous ballparks. Grand in scope and illustrations, and filled with nifty anecdotes about these "green cathedrals," Ballpark also explores the changing social climate that accompanied baseball's rise from a minor sport to the national pastime. This is a baseball book like no other.

Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Ages: 5-8
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Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates
by Jonah Winter, Raul Colon (Illustrator)
On an island called Puerto Rico a boy named Roberto Clemente dreamed of nothing but winning at baseball.

With no money -- but plenty of determination -- Clemente practiced on muddy fields with a glove made from a coffee sack. Little League became minor league, which turned into winter league...and, finally, he made it to the major leagues! With lightning speed, towering home runs, and grand slams, Clemente introduced himself to America.

Spare, evocative language -- and magnificent illustrations -- tell the story of a great athlete and even greater man who rose through the ranks of baseball to become one of the most admired players of all time.

The Shot Heard 'Round the World
Ages: 5-8
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The Shot Heard 'Round the World
by Phil Bildner, C.F. Payne (Illustrator)
If you lived in Brooklyn in 1951, your life revolved around the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Come summertime you bled Dodger blue.
And it was in that summer of '51 that "Dem Bums" -- what we lovingly called our Dodgers -- caused their biggest stir of all.

For the young Brooklyn Dodger fan in this story, the summer of 1951 was a summer for heroes. The Dodgers, with players like Jackie Robinson, Carl Erskine, and Clem Labine, faced off against the New York Giants in a pennant race that no one had seen the likes of and no one would ever forget.

On October 2, 1951, the New York Giants of the borough of Brooklyn held its breath as the Dodgers faced the Giants for the third, tie-breaking game to determine which team would go on to play the Yankees in the World Series.

More than just a story about baseball, this is a sweeping view of life in Brooklyn in the summer of 1951, from its streets, to its Cyclone, to its stadium. Phil Bildner pitches the ball and C. F. Payne hits a shot to be heard 'round the world giving this renowned story new life.

Dad, Jackie, and Me
Ages: 6-9
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DAD, JACKIE, AND ME
by Myron Uhlberg, Colin Bootman (Illustrator)
It is the summer of 1947 and a highly charged baseball season is underway in New York. Jackie Robinson is the new first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers--and the first black player in Major League Baseball. A young boy shares the excitement of Robinson's rookie season with his deaf father. Each day he listens eagerly to the Brooklyn Dodgers games on the radio. When his father arrives home from work, the boy uses sign language to tell him about the Dodgers. His father begins to keep a scrapbook, clipping photos and articles about Jackie. Finally one day the father delivers some big news: they are going to Ebbets Field to watch Jackie play in person!
Peach: Ty Cobb In His Time And Ours
YA/Adult/Baseball Lovers of All Ages
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PEACH: TY COBB IN HIS TIME AND OURS
by Richard Bak
Although it has been more than 75 years since he last laced up his spikes, Ty Cobb remains arguably the greatest player in the long history of baseball. Certainly the Detroit Tigers outfielder remains the most controversial. He hit .367 over 24 seasons (1905–1928), won a dozen batting titles, and was the first man elected to baseball's Hall of Fame. But it was his blowtorch intensity and mercurial personality that set the "Georgia Peach" apart from all others. Peach: Ty Cobb in His Time and Ours takes readers into the cauldron that was his life—the spikings and assaults, the rivalries and petty jealousies, the never-ending string of battles on the diamond, in the stands, and at home. At the same time author Richard Bak reveals a side of Cobb not generally known—a man who quietly looked after the affairs of down-and-out ballplayers, founded a hospital system and educational foundation that still thrives after a half-century, and who belatedly came to grips with his own soiled legend.
Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Cobb's 1905 debut in the major leagues, and featuring 150 rarely seen photographs, Peach provides a balanced analysis of this baseball icon's life inside and outside the game, with particular emphasis on his treatment in pop culture and public memory.
Sports Media Group 2005
Let Them Play
Ages: 4 Up
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LET THEM PLAY
by Margot Theis Raven
Chris Ellison, Illustrator
Segregated Charleston, SC, 1955: There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina—all but one of the leagues is composed entirely of white players. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars, an all-black team, is formed in the hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament. What should have been a time of enjoyment, however, turns sour when all of the other leagues refuse to play against them and even pull out of the program. As the only remaining Little League team in the state, Cannon Street was named state winner by default, giving the boys a legitimate spot in the Little League Baseball World Series held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. While the Cannon Street team is invited to the game as guests, they are not allowed to participate since they have not officially "played" and won their state's tournament. Let Them Play takes its name from the chant shouted by the spectators who attended the World Series final.

Author Margot Theis Raven recounts the inspiring tales of the Cannon Street All-Stars as they arrived in Williamsport, PA and never got the chance to play for the title thanks to the bigotry and ignorance of the South Carolina teams. Ms. Theis' transports readers back to a sadder time when white little league teams refused to play against an all-black team. Winning by forfeit, the Cannon Streeters were subsequently not allowed to participate in Williamsburg because they had not "played" their way into the tournament.
--Sleeping Bear Press 2005

More Baseball Books:

Good Sports: Baseball Heroes (Ages 8-11) [the first book in the new middle grade nonfiction series Good Sports, about the inspiring life stories of major league athletes who have overcome obstacles in the course of their life and careers. Each book tells the stories of athletes who have encountered and overcome significant obstacles, and whose story exempifies character and nerve in the face of adversity. Baseball Heroes highlights players who were among the first to break through barriers of race, ethnicity and even sex in order to play professional baseball. Subjects include Jackie Robinson, Hank Greenburg, Fernando Valenzuela, and Ila Borders.]