From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-Myers writes in the voice of the 17-year-old equipment manager for the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons baseball team. Through Biddy's journal, readers are introduced not only to the last great year of the Negro Leagues, but also to the institutional racism and blatant bigotry that existed in mid-20th-century America. The teen documents the action of the games, records the jokes and discussions that take place on the long bus rides to distant ball parks, complains about his younger sister, and writes about his hopes and desires for the future. A sometimes right fielder, he realizes that he will never be a great player and turns his dreams to attending college and becoming a journalist or sports writer. Intertwined with detailed descriptions of hits, runs, wins, and losses, Biddy describes his anger at not being served at a five-and-dime lunch counter and his yearning to stand up for his rights. Myers refers to actual players of the time: everyone talks about Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige; Willie Mays is a member of the Birmingham Black Barons; and Biddy meets Hank Aaron, who plays for the Indiana Clowns. A final section includes a fictional epilogue, a historical note, black-and-white photos, and information about the author. Direct readers who want more information to Patricia McKissack's Black Diamond: The Story of the Negro Baseball League (Scholastic, 1994).-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
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