Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books. We learn much from authors who are sharing about their own special topics.
This week, I had the pleasure of reading two books about people in baseball who made a difference. Terrific stories!
When Jackie and Hank Met - Cathy Goldberg Fishman and Mark Elliott
I've read other books about Jackie Robinson. What a courageous man he was, and what awesome things he did, personal baseball achievements plus achievements for everyone who had been excluded. This time the story is about Jackie and Hank Greenberg, and new parts of history I didn't know. Hank Greenberg didn't have quite the hurdles Jackie faced, but some of them. There were those who wanted to exclude him too because he was Jewish. I really didn't know that signs in stores included Blacks, Jews, Native Americans, and other ethnic groups. The book chronicles these two men's lives from birth and family moves, through World War II and into baseball achievement and challenges. They first met from opposing teams when Jackie made a hit, and slid into Hank, the first baseman. The crowd yelled for a fight, but they did not, they showed they would fight for everyone's rights, but not because someone was different. There is much more about each one in the back matter: information, a timeline and additional resources. Elliott illustrates each part of the story beautifully, with paintings of action and portraits of these famous men.
The Kid from Diamond Street, The extraordinary story of baseball legend Edith Houghton - Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno
Considering that females still cannot play much baseball, this is an extraordinary story as the title says. The youngest of ten children, Edith says she was born with a baseball in her hand. Illustrations show young Edith playing every chance she got, and wow, she was talented! At the age of ten she tried out for the Philadelphia Bobbies, a women's team of older teens and those in their twenties. She made the team, at ten, was called The Kid, and didn't stop playing for a long time. The most exciting experience she had is that this team toured Japan, playing men's teams, earning so much attention as experts, and for wearing athletic shoes!
Edith went on to play for other teams and was only one of two hired as a professional baseball scout for the Philadelphia Phillies. The book covers Edith's baseball-playing life, and the back matter fills in the rest. Salerno's bold, colorful paintings fill the pages with action, adventure, and baseball! Audrey Vernick writes that by the time she had heard Edith's story, it was near the end of her life, so Audrey never got to meet her. I'm very glad she told Edith's story.