A fun-loving, age-appropriate look at America’s favorite pastime.

Nick's Very First Day of Baseball

A young boy is thrilled to attend his first day of baseball practice in this colorful children’s book.

Nick’s mom has just signed him up to play America’s pastime, and Nick couldn’t be more excited. In fact, he can barely wait for the first practice on Friday. His dad buys him a mitt and fits and molds it to Nick’s hand, and as the boy practices throwing by tossing crackers to his dog, Yogi, he’s consumed by thoughts of the game. When Friday finally arrives, all of Nick’s friends are on the field waiting for practice to start. Each player receives a new uniform, complete with a hat and their very own special number. (Most of the players can’t remember their numbers, though.) Coach explains the warm-up exercises that the team will do, such as jumping jacks and toe touches. He promises that they’ll start playing real baseball during the next practice, and then he sends each player home with a new baseball card. Christofora (The Hometown All Stars’ Magic Bat Day, 2013, etc.) is a Little League coach in real life, so he knows a thing or two about shaping young minds to play ball. This book is a great place for potential Joe DiMaggios to start. It would be a wonderful read for a child who, like Nick, is just about to begin playing baseball as it explains how practices are run, from donning uniforms to stretching to carousing with a team. In addition to portraying the sport as an exciting way to spend an afternoon, Christofora also focuses on the camaraderie and support that comes with being in a group. Team building is an important skill in baseball and in life, and this fact shines through in this work. The friendly cartoon baseballs in the corners of some pages are lovely additions, as well; they offer fun questions, riddles, tips, and explanations that will keep both young and old readers engaged with the story. There’s even a section at the end for children to write down their answers to questions, lest they forget. Tangeman’s illustrations, meanwhile, are splashy and vibrant, piquing readers’ interest and making the story feel even more alive.

A fun-loving, age-appropriate look at America’s favorite pastime.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Ultimately adds little to conversations about race.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK BOY

A popular YouTube series on race, “Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man,” turns how-to manual and history lesson for young readers.

Acho is a former NFL player and second-generation Nigerian American who cites his upbringing in predominantly White spaces as well as his tenure on largely Black football teams as qualifications for facilitating the titular conversations about anti-Black racism. The broad range of subjects covered here includes implicit bias, cultural appropriation, and systemic racism. Each chapter features brief overviews of American history, personal anecdotes of Acho’s struggles with his own anti-Black biases, and sections titled “Let’s Get Uncomfortable.” The book’s centering of Whiteness and White readers seems to show up, to the detriment of its subject matter, both in Acho’s accounts of his upbringing and his thought processes regarding race. The overall tone unfortunately conveys a sense of expecting little from a younger generation who may have a greater awareness than he did at the same age and who, therefore, may already be uncomfortable with racial injustice itself. The attempt at an avuncular tone disappointingly reads as condescending, revealing that, despite his online success with adults, the author is ill-equipped to be writing for middle-grade readers. Chapters dedicated to explaining to White readers why they shouldn’t use the N-word and how valuable White allyship is may make readers of color (and many White readers) bristle with indignation and discomfort despite Acho’s positive intentions.

Ultimately adds little to conversations about race. (glossary, FAQ, recommended reading, references) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-80106-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Essential.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2020

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more