I like to do weekly round-ups on Wednesdays, but I just couldn’t get this one done by Wednesday this week. However, I don’t want to wait until next week because we’re in the middle of the World Series!! A great time to mention these recent baseball picture books.

You may have heard of the new Common Core State Standards for education. If you haven’t, don’t worry–I plan to discuss them in more detail in the coming weeks. Whether or not your children are in public schools, these standards will affect you; after all, standardized tests are based on things exactly like this! One of the big distinctives of the new standards is the increased emphasis on “informational texts.” So far, it’s been hard to determine if that includes narrative nonfiction (think: biographies) as well as more information nonfiction.

At any rate, there has been a real boon of well done information picture books as of late. Three of the ones published recently center around a famous person (or persons) in baseball. Check these titles out if you have children interested in baseball, sports in general, or just for some fun “informational” reading.

There Goes Ted Williams: the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived
Matt Tavares
Candlewick
2012

Ted Williams could hit a ball…consistently into home run territory. His story is one of hard work, determination to be the best, consistent practice, and service to his country (WWII and Korea). The author provides a bibliography at the end as well as a note which mentions some of Williams’s less-than-stellar attributes. It’s a terrific story,  nicely illustrated, and a great one to read with a young, aspiring baseball player. Recommended for elementary, particularly those with some prior baseball knowledge.

Brothers at Bat: the True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
Audrey Vernick, author
Stephen Salerno, illustrator
Clarion
2012

Well told and wonderfully illustrated, Brothers at Bat tells the story of 12 brothers who formed an all-brother baseball team (the longest playing all-brother team in history). Terrific family dynamics (they also had 4 sisters!), a nice slice of American history (early 20th century, including WWII), and interesting details about particular brothers make this a winner. Recommended for elementary (or earlier if they have some baseball background).

She Loved Baseball: the Effa Manley Story
Audrey Vernick, author
Don Tate, illustrator
Collins
2010

Did you know that there is a woman in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Just one actually: Effa Manley. She was an amazing woman, loved baseball, ended up owning a baseball team, and just had such an interesting life. This one’s for those girls in the family who are out in the backyard hitting balls with their brothers! Recommended for elementary.

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