Posts Tagged 'baseball'

The Batboy by Mike Lupica

Genre:  Sports fiction

# of Pages:  246

2011 Iowa Teen Award Winner

RAC Book:  Yes

Brian Dudley is thrilled when he learns that he will be a batboy for the Tigers Major League Baseball Team.  He is also excited when he hears that his baseball hero, Hank Bishop, will be playing on the team after getting suspended for steroid use.  Brian loves baseball and loves working with the Tigers.  He strives to be the best batboy he can be and is shocked when Hank Bishop does not appreciate his efforts.  Meanwhile his father, who is a retired major league pitcher whom he hasn’t seen in over a year, comes to town to scout some players for Japan.  Brian hates to admit it, but secretly hoped this connection to baseball would bring them together again.   Can Brian earn Hank’s respect?  Will he ever reconnect with his father?  Will he still love baseball after a summer of working for the Tigers?

This book is for anyone who loves baseball.  Brian truly loves the sport in every way and his excitement is infectious.  Lupica definitely has an upbeat, positive writing style in which characters often seem a bit simplistic.  This won’t stop young readers from devouring his stories, however.  The sports aspects are well described and there’s always a lot of action and character conflict.  Recommended for sports lovers and reluctant readers.

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Hard Ball by Will Weaver

Genre:  Sports Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  240 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Billy Baggs has been enemies with King Kenwood ever since he can remember.  They are both strong baseball players, but Billy lives on a farm far out of town and King lives in town in a big house.  Their fathers have clashed for many years and they both have a crush on the same girl.  There are numerous reasons why they have failed to see eye to eye over the years. 

Right before they begin high school they get into a big fight and their baseball coach says they have to spend one entire week together or else he won’t let them on the team.  When King stays on the farm he pitches in and helps with the chores.  He begins to see how difficult life is for a kid on a farm.  He has to get up early and do chores before getting on an hour long bus ride to school.  He does it all with minimal complaining, however. 

When Billy stays in town he sees that life isn’t as easy for King as he thought.  His mother drinks and his father works long hours, so King is responsible for making all the meals in the house and cleaning.  Also, his father puts a lot of pressure on him to work out and practice baseball in the hopes of getting a scholarship someday.

Both boys end up finding that they need to understand more about where the other one is coming from before passing judgment.  They also learn how to work together in order to improve their current situations before they both crack under all the responsibilities heaped upon them.  A good book about sports and high school.

Heat by Mike Lupica

Genre:  Sports

Age Level:  12 and up

# of pages:  220 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Michael Arroyo was born in Cuba and immigrated to the United States with his father and brother when he was younger.  His entire family is obsessed with baseball and they love living in the Bronx, which is so close to Yankee Stadium.  Michael also plays on a Little League All Stars team and they hope to go to the World Series.  Michael is a strong pitcher and a little big for his age, so as his team starts to do well other coaches feel the need to question his date of birth.  Unfortunately, Michael is not able to locate his birth certificate, which causes some problems for him and his team.

Meanwhile, Michael and his brother, Carlos, are hiding a terrible secret that they are afraid will break their family up.  Despite the fact that Michael doesn’t seem to have anything going right in his life, he always has his friends and baseball to get him through.  He wonders whether he will get to continue to play baseball or if his dream will end forever over a dispute about his age.  This was a good sports story, but it also shed some light on difficult issues like immigration and poverty.  Boys will be a fan of this book.


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