PLAY BALL!

Hello Mixed-Up Filers!

Only two months since I last checked in. Hope that all of you are well. Well, we are nearing the end of February, and while snow is still on the ground in many parts of the country, down here in Florida, major league baseball teams are congregating to begin spring training. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite times of the year. Every exhibition season, I’ll take my kids to spring training to watch the Mets play in Port Saint Lucie. At Tradition Field. Anybody is more than welcome to meet me there.

mr. met

tradition field

In any event, I think you’re getting the drift. I love baseball. And that means, I love reading baseball books. I’m an easy reader and audience for you. I’m already coming in hooked. To me, you have to try really hard to make a baseball book bad. I’m already invested. I’m in it for the characters. I’m in it for the description of the game. I’m in it to see what happens. If you mention the Mets, even better. I’m giving you points for that. If you mention the Yankees? Well, that’s some serious points reduced. I absolutely hate the Yankees. You could conjure up an army of baseball-playing demons, and if they’re playing the Yankees, I’m wearing my Demons jersey and waving my Demons banner. So, as I said, if that’s the only criteria I have, I’m a pretty easy audience. So, let’s you and I together, take a look at some really fun baseball books.

baseball

First one on my list, is cheating in a way. It’s a softball book. My daughter plays softball, and it’s very difficult to find any good books about that, since it’s mostly baseball books in the stores, so when we do see a softball book, we grab it. This one is: Katie, Batter Up! (Cupcake Diaries Series #5) by Coco Simon. My daughter really enjoyed this one. It is about Katie, who tries out for softball and makes the team, but gets nervous during games. This describes almost every girl I’ve ever coached. It was a sweet, fun, story and shows to keep trying, even when you’re nervous.

katie

Next up, is The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter. This book is a mystery as well as a fun baseball book. Tom Gallagher gets himself and his friends involved in a baseball game for control of the fields. Only problem is, he’s very ill-prepared for the game…that is, until a mysterious kid named, Cruz de la Cruz shows up and teaches Tom the secret of hitting.

boy saved baseball

Super Slugger, by Cal Ripken, Jr. and Kevin Cowherd. I’ll be upfront. Normally, I don’t go for “celebrity” authors. I think enough people are trying to make it as writers, that just because some celebrity decides, “I’m going to write a book!”, that I won’t support it. But, darn it, it’s baseball. And as I said…I LOVE baseball! So, I picked up this book and it was a fun read. It’s about Cody Parker, an overweight, new kid in school, who likes to play baseball. Only problem, he plays the same position as Dante Rizzo, the school bully. Yes, I have seen this scenario played out in many movies growing up. Even some of my favorite movies, but what can I say? I’m a sucker for them every time!

slugger

Little League: Play Ball! (Little League Series #1): You can’t have sports books, without mentioning Matt Christopher, the king of sports books. But, in this case, it’s actually written by Stephanie True Peters, since Christopher died in 1997. Still, I don’t care, since it says Matt Christopher on the cover, and that’s good enough for me. Any book that talks about going through a season and what players deal with, are favorites of mine, and this book does that. It’s about eleven-year-old cousins, catcher Liam McCarthy and pitcher Carter Jones who have their team on the verge of winning the Little League Baseball World Series. But, to win the title, they must first beat their number one rivals from Southern California. Championship games against your rival is always exciting to read for me.

little league

Rounding out my list is, Shoeless Joe & Me (Baseball Card Adventures #4) by Dan Gutman. First off, I love Dan Gutman books. Also, I have a soft spot for anything Shoeless Joe related, so this book was a natural for me. Joe Stoshack tries to take his magic baseball card and travel back in the past, to prevent Shoeless Joe, from getting involved in the World Series scandal, which ended his career. I absolutely love time travel books and this one combined baseball with it. What’s not to love?

shoeless joe

So, there you have it, Mixed-Up Filers! My mini-list of baseball books for middle-graders. Hope you enjoy these, hope you enjoy baseball season, and hope your team has a great season! Well, unless, of course, it’s the Yankees and then I wish a very long and arduous road.

no-yankees

Let’s Go Mets!

mets

What are some of your favorite middle grade baseball books?

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JROSEN
Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time chauffeuring around his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into, in particular the Choose Your Own Adventure Series, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been really willing to accept responsibility. He is the author of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, which is out now, and its sequel, From Sunset Till Sunrise. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com, SpookyMiddleGrade.com, and his own website, WWW.HouseofRosen.com
14 Comments
  1. Don’t miss Wendy Shang’s “The Way Home Looks Now”!

    • Apologies to Wendy! I haven’t read it and am ashamed! I will make it a point to do so and include it in Play Ball part 2! 🙂

  2. What a great blog!!! It helps me make decisions on what books to purchase for my kids. Have you read the new picture book, “Cooking With Mr. C.” by John Contratti. My kids love it. Keep up the good work.

    • Haven’t seen it, but always on the lookout for fun books! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for this post. I also love baseball books, but I also love books with characters who love the game even if it isn’t the focus of the book. One of my favorites of that kind of book is Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt.

    • Don’t know that one, but love Gary Schmidt, so will look it up! Thanks!

  4. I’d like to recommend a debut novel, THE DISTANCE TO HOME, by Jenn Bishop. Minor league baseball is a major obsession for the main character, Quinnen, who is coping with the death of her older sister.

    • Didn’t know it, but appreciate the recommendation! I’ll take a look for it.

  5. Nothing better than a baseball post in the middle of winter up north and pitchers + catchers heading south. I agree 100% with the MUDVILLE suggestion. A great baseball book.

    Some more of my favorites are: OUT AT SECOND by Matt Christopher, SUMMERLAND by Michael Chabon, HOTHEAD by Cal Ripkin, Jr. and for the old-school crowd, BIG LEAGUE BATBOY by Jerry Gibson.

    Great post! I would love to see a rematch of the Mets with my Royals in the World Series.

    • I’m hoping it’s like Rocky II, where after Rocky lost the first, comes back and wins!

  6. My favorite is The Girl Who Threw Butterflies~ such a gorgeous story! And yes, I’ll echo Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta!

    • Having a daughter who plays sports, I’m always looking for books with that as the subject. I’ll have to check that one out.

  7. Mudville by Curtis Scaletta!!!

    • I never read it, but just looked at the reviews. I’ll have to add it to my want to read list!