Friday, September 20, 2013
Willie and the All-Stars - Perfect Picture Book Friday
Last week was wonderful. I didn’t realize how much I missed Perfect Picture Book Friday until it was back! Reading everyone’s reviews took me on a book vacation to places I might otherwise not have visited. Thanks again to Susanna Hill for allowing me to participate.
The end of the baseball season is approaching. For those of us living in Philadelphia, it can’t come soon enough. For every winner there has to be a loser, and this year, it was our turn to come up short. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy "the game." With the World Series approaching, my pick this week is the perfect choice for any young sports fans in your house.
Title: Willie and the ALL-STARS
Author/:Illustrator: Floyd Cooper
Note: Mr. Cooper's link above is to his Facebook page because his website is being re-worked. He says it will be back up soon at www.FloydCooper.com
Publisher: Philomel Books, 2008
Audience: 6-8 years (publisher’s rec)
Themes: Baseball, Hope, African-American History
Opening: “Willie lived with his grandma in a tiny one-room apartment on the North Side of Chicago. It was 1942 and nothing came easy, not even a boy’s dreams.”
Synopsis: After hearing elders in the neighborhood scoff at his dreams, a young boy gets a gift of tickets to a game between the Negro League All-star team and the Major League All-Stars.
What I Liked about this Book: The jacket flap says that Mr. Cooper lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, not too far from where I live but that isn't the reason why I liked this book. The language is rich and the illustrations carry emotional depth. I wasn’t alive back in 1942, but the book took me there, and the hopes and dreams expressed by the young men still ring true today for people of all ages and races. Although generations have passed between 1942 and today, the book is a subtle jumping off point for a discussion between parents and children about how much has changed, and how much is still the same--in baseball as well as the world in general. Note: This book is fiction. Despite the child’s name, it is NOT a book about Willie Mays. The historical aspect of the book is about African-Americans in general, not a specific individual. Although the book was published in 2008 it is still in print, widely available through Philomel/Penguin's website (link above), Indiebound, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Activities/Resources: When the author's website is re-launched, there may be activites included there but there was nothing on Philomel's site. So perhaps make a ball with wadded up duct tape and string (or use a small soft rubber ball or tennis ball) and organize a game of stickball in your neighborhood. If you want a quiet indoor moment, read the book and then talk to children about their dreams and what obstacles they may have to overcome. Brainstorm ways to achieve their own goals.
This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. Along with tons of writing wisdom, she keeps an ever-growing list of PerfectPicture Books.
I attended two great writing events this week! Looking forward to adding a Tuesday post and sharing them with you next week.