(I received a free copy of Brooklyn Bat Boy to write this review. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.)
When I found out my girls and I would be reviewing a book that was centered on baseball, I was a little worried. You see, I planned to read it with my 9 and 11-year-old girls. We're not baseball fans, never have been, and I was concerned about keeping them engaged. When the book arrived and I showed it to the girls I got a couple of blank stares and one very sassy "are you kidding me?". After explaining what the book was about, both were just a tad more open to sticking around.
About The BookBrooklyn Bat Boy is the story of Bobby Kelly, a boy who gets the opportunity of a lifetime. Bobby gets hired as the Brooklyn Dodgers bat boy, during the "1947 baseball season that changed baseball forever". This was the season in which Branch Rickey boldly signed Jackie Robinson, as the first African-American player in an all white league. As the story begins, we learn Bobby is from Irish descent, and even lives in an Irish-filled neighborhood. Early on, Bobby's father advises him to stay away from Robinson and we see how his father's words as well as the words and actions of the neighborhood bully dictate Bobby's behavior towards Robinson. When Bobby gets in trouble at school, his punishment (being extra nice to Robinson) results in an unexpected friendship.
What The Girls ThoughtHere's what they thought in their own words: I liked it because it was from a kids perspective and I think boys would like this book too, because it's also about baseball. It was easy to read because there wasn't too many big words and there was a lot packed in just one little book. I learned that we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover literally. Rose, Age 11 I liked that it was really interesting and the chapters were really easy to read. You can read it to little kids and they would understand it, and big kids could read it on their own. It was a really good book and it didn't take long to finish. The author should write a sequel. It taught me to treat people the way I want to be treated, it doesn't matter if they are black, white or whatever because everyone is equal. Bobby learned that talking to Robinson wasn't a bad thing; he was a good person and he could play baseball just as well as the rest of the players. Olivia, Age 9
Lesson Extensions & Activities We Enjoyed
- Our family is made up of multiple cultures, therefore the race issues in the book we're almost foreign to my girls. Though we've studied the civil rights movement in the past; re-visiting the events in the context of the book brought about great conversation.
- Because my girls love to research, we looked up a few articles on Robinson, and watched a couple of documentaries. You can see our favorite YouTube video here.
- We played a game of stickball. It's like baseball, and typically played in the middle of the street in large cities. You can find more about the game and the rules of play here.
- We baked soda bread. The girls love to bake, and never pass up the opportunity. We found a simple recipe here.
- Now that we know a little bit about baseball, we plan on attending a couple of Dodger games in the spring, and we can't wait.
Why You Should Read This BookWe read Brooklyn Bat Boy in a span of three days, but honestly if we had the time we would have finished it in one. The same girls with the blank stares and the "are you kidding me?" attitudes begged to read it a second time. Geoff Griffin did a fantastic job at keeping us non-baseball-fans completely engaged the entire time. Brooklyn Bat Boy helped me teach my girls about multicultural diversity in an organic way.
About Multicultural Children's Book Day
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that. Current Sponsors: MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include Scholastic, Barefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press, Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTV, Capstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle Swift, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee& Low Books, The Pack-n-Go Girls, Live Oak Media, Author Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica Appleton, Susan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria Dismondy, D.G. Driver, Geoff Griffin, Savannah Hendricks, Stephen Hodges, Carmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson, Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana Llanos, Natasha Moulton-Levy, Teddy O'Malley, Stacy McAnulty, Cerece Murphy, Miranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg Ransom, Sandra Richards, Elsa Takaoka, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato, Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE. MCBD Links to remember: MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/ Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/ Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with is on social media and be sure and look for/use their official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.