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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mighty Jackie

Despite the winter storm warning that goes into effect shortly, we are reading about baseball this week during library time. Mighty Jackie: The Strike-Out Queen by Marissa Moss has the listeners entranced. Not one student has heard about Jackie Mitchell, the young woman who consecutively struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during a 1931 baseball game between the New York Yankees and her own Chattanooga Lookouts. The drama of her story unfolds with a few pages of early history (including a bit about how Dazzy Vance of the Brooklyn Dodgers helped teach Jackie to pitch). Then the intensity of that game is described with the perfect amount of dialogue interspersed. C. F. Payne's illustrations convey the dismay and disgust of Babe Ruth, as well as Jackie Mitchell's pride.

We read the author's note (of course!) after Jackie's triumphant game ends, and the children express their anger at the baseball commissioner's decision to void her contract, claiming he was protecting her because the sport was "too strenuous." The kids have many ideas about why he really did that. It has been an excellent book to share aloud, as well as a motivator for readers to check out more picture book biographies.

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