Tag Archive for Baseball Books

The Reading Zone Reviews Six Innings

I’ve been building and organizing my links lately — there’s so much great stuff out there, and I want my blog to “only connect” — so I clicked on The Reading Zone to see what’s what. And lo! There’s a review of Six Innings right there on the front page. It’s always interesting when a reviewer admits to not liking baseball, and then watching how they handle that. Here’s the conclusion of the review:

This is a story that baseball fans, especially boys, will flock to. The game is described in detail, which may turn off some non-sports fans, but you can tell that James Preller poured his own passion for baseball into the story. I am looking forward to introducing it into my classroom library because many of my boys play Little League and I know they will connect with this story. However, this is also a story about friendship, family, and the pressures that kids deal with. I can see some of my girls connecting to these aspects of the book and also enjoying the story.

I didn’t know anything about the Cybil Awards, so I clicked away. Guess what? It’s the “premier Web awards for children’s literature.” Actually, the site is pretty great and I’ve added it to our growing sidebar.

This whole business of “learning-something-new-every-day” can be pretty distracting. At some point I’m just going to stop. I’m going to get myself a rocking chair. And I’m going to find a big wraparound front porch (don’t have one, dream of one). And I’m going to put a blanket on my lap, grab a Pabst Blue Ribbon, and spew. I’ve always wanted to be that Old Man. Cranky, irascible, dyspeptic, holding forth on how we’re all going to hell in a hand basket (my mother’s phrase). I don’t know why. It just seems like fun.

I like the idea of performing roles, fulfilling expectations. For example: Dad is food shopping. Uh-oh. He’s going to come back with something delicious that’s bad for us, some not-exactly-food-stuff that Mom would never, ever buy. It becomes an obligation. A familiar dance. A kind of joy. And I throw the Cap’n Crunch into the cart.

Artwork from gapingvoid.com.

Fan Mail Wednesday #11

Wednesday again? My God, where do they come from?! It’s like the savage hordes coming over the hill, but instead of sword-wielding huns it’s, um, hump days. Well, let’s see what’s in the old mailbox, shall we?

Full disclosure, this is an abbreviated, slightly edited version of an email I received today:

I have been a Little League President for the past eight years. My son and I read your book, Six Innings, together for summer reading . He actually read without my nagging! He loved it! He so related to Colin’s and the benchwarmer’s feelings. In fact, at a league meeting last night I encouraged all the managers to read along with their boys. Thank you again for putting in words the experiences that are so meaningful to all players.

I replied:

I appreciate the kind words. Like you, I’ve been very involved with Little League for the past ten years or so (I’m currently BURIED with “Fall Ball” details). You know, I remember the first signing I did for this book. I assumed that I’d be seeing all sorts of baseball-crazy boys — the star athletes — and it surprised me at first when a lot of the boys looking for signatures were clearly not star players. They were, of course, the readers. Or, as I thought to myself, they were the boys who maybe loved the game, even if the game didn’t love them back. I think it’s so important to remember those kids. The ones who struggle to catch a ball or make a hit. We tend to focus too much on All-Stars and the so-called best players. That’s why I focused on a typical team, rather than a team of All-Stars in, say, the Little League World Series. I wanted all types. I’m glad that I had Patrick Wong on that team, the boy who wasn’t a star, full of doubt and worry; and glad, too, that when he made a play it was a simple one. He didn’t suddenly hit a grand slam. He hit a foul ball. He worked out a walk. He caught a grounder (and, yes, struck out twice and made an error, too). But he contributed in his way.

My best,
James Preller