King of the Mound by Wes Tooke
Any baseball lover will enjoy this book. This is a look back into the 1930’s and the intergration of baseball. Nick, at 9 years old, is the best little league pitcher in the state but has spent the last year in the hospital because of polio. His left leg has become weaker than his right and he is required to wear a brace. His brace prevents him from bending his leg and pitching.
Nick is being raised solely by his dad, but his dad has not been to see him much at the hospital and isn’t exactly the warm and fuzzy kind of dad. When his dad comes to pick him up to finally take him home he realizes his life will no longer be the same nor simple at home.
Nick meets Emma and they develop a special friendship which leads to Nick meeting Satchel Paige. Nick experiences discrimination, learns about standing up for what you believe in and to not live life as a “cripple” just because that is what people see. Satchel Paige teaches Nick about baseball and about never giving up on yourself.
Even though we are not baseball fans in our house, both Lightning and I enjoyed this book.
Of course you can use this book as a starting point to study the history of baseball if this is an interest of your child or even take it a step further and study how all sports were integrated not only with different races, but also with women. In our house we are going to learn a little about baseball and take this lesson outside and have a little baseball game. Not all learning has to be in books and there is always time for some playtime.
The author’s website has some links for anyone wanting to learn more about baseball history and statistics.