Friday, November 25, 2016

PPBF: Baseball Biography

There's no official Perfect Picture Book Friday today, but I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce a few of the worthwhile picture books I've read this fall.

Today's theme is BASEBALL!

The William Hoy Story,
by Nancy Churnin and Jez Tuya
Also reviewed by Vivian Kirkfield
The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game
Written by Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by Jez Tuya

Albert Whitman & Company, 2016
Ages 5-8, 620L

Biography, Disability, Nonfiction,Sports

"William Scooped dust to dry the sweat off his slick rubber ball. He stared at the small X he'd chalked on the barn wall. He closed his eyes. He opened them and threw. Bam! He hit the mark. He stepped back so he could try again."

William Hoy loved playing ball. He was an outstanding athlete. He made it all the way to the major leagues, but when he got there he discovered there was a communication problem. Hoy invented a system of signals for the base coaches and the umpire.
William also happened to be deaf. His hand signals improved game play for both hearing and deaf players, and made it easier for the spectators to see what was happening.

I'm not sure how much of this is urban legend, but William Hoy was a great baseball player, and hand signals did improve the game for everyone. The story points out some of the challenges Hoy faced as well as his accomplishments. The folk-art style compliments the mood of the story. The text is a bit straightforward, but well-organized. Great for classrooms and at home.

The Kid From Diamond Street,
by Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno
Also reviewed by Beth Anderson
The Kid From Diamond Street Written by Audrey Vernick
Illustrated by Steven Salerno

Clarion, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
Ages 4-7, 40 pp, 880L

Biography, Nonfiction, Sports

"Born into a Philadelphia family in 1912, Edith was the youngest of ten kids. Nearly as soon as she could walk, Edith was playing ball with her big brothers and neighbors."

Edith Houghton started playing professional baseball when she was 10 years old. She practiced hard, traveled the world, and followed her dreams. Sport-a-phobes and baseball fans alike will cheer for this plucky kid from Philadelphia.

I loved this inspiring and empowering peek at the life of a famous teen. The MC feels like an authentic, yet extraordinary young girl. This book is a great example of using available data to create a flowing story while sticking to the facts. Bouncing text. Fun, animated illustration style.

Queen of the Diamond, by Emily Arnold McCully
Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story
Written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully

Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2015
Ages 5-8, 460L

Biography, Sports, History, Nonfiction

In 1900, baseball was America's national pastime. No other form of entertainment came close. Every boy owned a ball, a glove, and a dream.

Lizzie Murphy was a better baseball player than most of the boys she knew. Decades before Edith Houghton played on a girls pro team, Lizzie was playing for two different amateur boys' teams, eventually moving to the pros. She played in All-Star games and batted against Satchel Paige. Lizzie didn't just play, she earned a living. A worthwhile biography with jaunty, expressive text and lively illustrations.

Check out these and other Perfect Picture books at your local library.

Reviewed by Kirsten
Reviewed by Maria

Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Kirsten

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!


  1. What a great list! I'd add this nonfiction picture book about baseball from the sportswriter's perspective:

    1. Thanks for the link, Annette! I had actually planned to include Miss Mary Reporting, but had to cut the post short because of time. I'm so glad you thought to include it here. "Great minds..."


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