Monday, March 7, 2011

Play Ball! Recommended Books about Baseball

Although I don't follow baseball today, I can still recall in the early 1970s, during spring driving with my dad in his trusty VW bug (the original) and listening to AM radio coverage of a baseball game. I remember my dad listening as Nolan Ryan pitched his way to a no hitter and recall my dad saying, Mary we have a sure winner here. I'm not sure if it had something to do with listening to a game,  being with just my dad, or perhaps both--but I recall the time fondly.  

With spring a few weeks away and baseball warming up, I hope the list inspires you to "pitch a few books" to others and to read to children.

1. Picture Books
Adler, David A. 2007. Campy: The Story of Roy Campanella. Illustrated by Gordon James.NY: Viking Juvenile.
-------------------. 2004. The Babe & I. Illustrated by Terry Widener. NY: Sandpiper.
-------------------. 2003. Mama Played Baseball. Illustrated by Chris O’Leary. NY: Harcourt.
Bildner, Phil. 2011. Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of 1941. Illustrated by S.D. Schindler. NY: Putnam Juvenile.
--------------. 2006. Shoeless Joe & Betsy Black. Illustrated by C.F. Payne. NY: Simon & Schuster.
Bowen, Fred. 2010. No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season. Illustrated by Chuck Pyle. NY: Dutton Juvenile.
Burleigh, Robert. 2003. Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth. Illustrated by Mike Wimmer. NY: Sandpiper.
Burleigh, Robert. 2007. Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson: Against the Odds. Illustrated by Mike Wimmer. NY: Sandpiper.
Cline-Ransome, Lisa. 2003. Satchel Paige. Illustrated by James E.Ransome. NY: Aladdin.
Corey, Shana. 2006. Players in Pigtails. Illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. NY: Scholastic.

Curtis, Gavin. 2001. The Bat Boy and His Violin. Illustrated by E.B Lewis. NY: Aladdin.
Gilles, Almira Astudillo. 2001. Willie Wins. Illustrated by Carl Angel. NY: Lee & Low.
Golenbock, Peter. 2005. Hank Aaron: Brave in Every Way. Illustrated by Don Lee. NY: Lee & Low.
---------------------. 1992. Teammates. Illustrated by Paul Bacon. NY: Sandpiper.
Hopkinson, Deborah. 2003. Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings. Illustrated by Terry Widener. NY: Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books.
Hubbard, Crystal. 2005. Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream. Illustrated by Randy Duburke. NY: Lee & Low.
Johnson, Angela. 2007. Just Like Josh Gibson. Illustrated by Beth Peck. NY: Simon & Schuster.
Kusugak, Michael (Inuit). 1993. Baseball Bats for Christmas. Illustrated by Vladana Langer Krykorka. Tornoto, Ontario: Annick Press.
Lorbiecki, Marybeth. 2006. Jackie's Bat. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. NY: Simon & Schuster.
Mandel, Peter. 2000. Say Hey! Illustrated by Don Tate. NY: Hyperion.
McKisack, Patricia. 2008. Michelson, Richard. 2006. Across the Alley. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. NY: Harcourt.
Mellage, Nanette. 1999. Coming Home: A True Story of Josh Gibson, Baseball's Greatest Run Hitter. Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu. NY: Troll.

Michelson, Richard, 2011. Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King. Illustrated by Zachary Pullen. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.
Mochizuki, Ken. 1995. Baseball Saved Us. Illustrated by Don Lee. NY: Lee & Low.
Moss, Marissa. 2004. Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen. Illustrated by C.F. Payne. NY: Simon & Schuster.
Negron, Ray. 2006. The Boy of Steel: Baseball Dream Come True. Illustrated by Laura Seeley. NY: Harper Collins.
Nelson, Kadir. 2008. We Are The Ship: The Story Of Negro League Baseball. NY: Jump at the Sun.
Okimoto, Jean Davies. 2002. Dear Ichiro. Illustrated by Doug Keith. Seattle, WA: Sasquatch Books.
Posada, Jorge. 2010. Play Ball! Illustrated by Raul Colon. NY: Paula Wiseman Books.
Rappaport, Doreen. 2000. Dirt on Their Skirts: The Story of the Young Women Who Won the World Championship. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. NY: Dial.
Robinson, Sharon. 2009. Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. NY: Scholastic Press.
--------------------. 2004. Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America. NY: Scholastic.
Shore, Diane Z. & Jessica Alexander. 2011. This is the Game. Illustrated by Owen Smith. NY: HarperCollins.
Tavares, Michael. 2000.  Zachary's Ball. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
Uhlberg, Myron. 2005. Dad, Jackie, And Me. Illustrated by Colin Bootman. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.
Vernick, Audrey. 2010. She Loved baseball: The Effa Manley Story. Illustrated by Don Tate. NY: Collins.
Winter, Jonah. 2009. You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! Illustrated by Andre Carrilho. NY: Schwartz & Wade.
-----------------. 2008. Roberto Clemente: The Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Illustrated by Raul Colon. NY: Atheneum.
Wise, Bill. 2009. Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer. Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. NY: Lee & Low.
Yolen, Jane. 2010. All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever. Illustrated by Jim Burke. NY: Philomel.


Edelson, Noah. 2005. Cooperstown Dreams: Poems about Baseball and Other Things That Make a Difference. Illustrated by Hannah Edelson. Sherman Oaks, CA: Mighty Oak Media.
Fehler, Gene. 2009. Change-Up: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Donald Wu. NY: Clarion.
Graves, Donald. 1996. Baseball, Snakes and Summer Squash: Poems about Growing Up. Illustrated by Paul Birling. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mill Press.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 1993. Extra Innings: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Scott Medlock. NY: Harcourt.
Janeczko, Paul B. 1998. That Sweet Diamond Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Carole Katchen. NY: Atheneum.
Koertge, Ron. 2006. Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.
Maddax, Marjorie. 2009. Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by John Sandford. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
Morrison, Lillian. 1992. At the Crack of the Bat: Baseball Poems. Illustrated by Steve Cieslawski. NY: Hyperion.
Raczka, Rob. 2010. GUYKU: Haiku for Boys. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. NY: Houghton Mifflin. (includes a haiku about baseball cards)
Rodriguez, Alex. 2007. Out of the Park. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. NY: Harper Collins.
Smith, Charles. 2004. Diamond Life: Baseball Sights, Sounds, and Swings. NY: Orchard.
Thayer, Ernest. 2002. Casey At the Bat. Illustrated by Leroy Neiman. Introduction by Joe Torre. NY: Ecco.
 -----------------. 2000. Casey at the Bat: A Ballad at the Republic in the Year 1888. Illustrated by Christopher Bing. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle.

Bretón, Marcos. 2003. Home Is Everything: The Latino Baseball Story: From the Barrio to the Major Leagues. Photographs by Jose Luis Villegas. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.
Chronicle Books Staff. 2009. B Is for Baseball: Running the Bases from A to Z. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Cook, Sally and James Charlton. 2007. Hey Batta Batta Swing! The Wild Old Days of Baseball. Illustrated by Ross MacDonald. NY: Margaret K. McElderry.
Curlee, Lynn. 2004. Ball Park: The Story of America's Baseball Fields. NY: Antheum.

Gibbons, Gail. 2000. My Baseball Book. NY: HarperCollins.
Herzog, Brad. 2004. H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet. Chelsea, MI: Sleeping Bear Press.
Wong, Steven. 2007. Baseball Treasures. Illustrated by Susan Einstein.NY: HarperCollins.

Novels & Short Stories (Middle School & High School)

Cochrane, Mick. 2010. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies. NY: Yearling.
De la Pena, Matt. 2008. Mexican WhiteBoy. NY: Delacorte.
Lupica, Mike. 2011. The Batboy. NY: Puffin.
----------------. 2008. The Big Field. NY: Philomel.
----------------. 2007. Heat. NY: Puffin.
Mackel, Kathy. 1997. A Season of Comebacks. NY: Penguin.
Mercado, Nancy (Ed.). 2009. Baseball Crazy: Ten Short Stories that Covers the Bases. NY: Puffin.
Park, Linda Sue. 2008. Keeping Score. NY: Philomel.
Preller, James. 2008. Six Innings: A Game in Life. NY: Feiwel & Friends.
Raven, Margot Theis. 2005. Let Them Play. Illustrated by Chris Ellison. Sleeping Near Press.
Ritter, John H. 2005. The Boy Who Saved Baseball. NY: Puffin.
----------------. 2000. Over the Wall. NY: Philomel.
Sturm, James. 2007. Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow. Illustrated by Rich Tommaso. NY: Hyperion.
Testa, Maria. 2004. Becoming Joe DiMaggio. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.


  1. That's a terrific list--there are so many of my favorites included, and a number I'll need to circle back to check out. Thank you!

  2. You are welcome. I had such fun compiling the list. Now if only the weather would figure out it should be warming up:)

  3. Thanks for this list. Some working on poetry units this spring should be delighted with the list of poetry books about ball! :)