It's springtime, and I want to talk baseball. The sport is so full of heroic figures and twists of fate that it lends itself to good picture book narrative. So here are four great pieces of baseball history:
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!tells the story of Koufax’s slow start and amazing years pitching for the Dodgers. Great illustrations and lots of impressive statistics, well-presented.
No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season by Fred Bowen describes the nail-biting last game of the 1941 season, when Ted Williams chose to risk his .400 average by going to bat, rather than sitting it out and taking his feat into the record books.
Teammates gives kids the Jackie Robinson Story through the lens of his friendship with Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese.
The Longest Season by Cal Ripken Jr. tells the tale of the start of the Orioles’ 1988 season in excruciating detail: the team lost 21 games before their first win. It’s a story of sticking with your teammates and family in the face of adversity and gives anyone who’s had a losing season the reminder that even the greats have been there.
These are all a little older picture books: you need a child who has some understanding of baseball. And they all hinge on the players’ characters. Good stories.