From School Library Journal
Gr 2-4–Vernick's sprightly text and Tate's vibrant illustrations combine in an appreciative tribute to the first woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Manley blazed a trail on two fronts: she fought racial injustice throughout her life; and as coowner of the Newark Eagles, a Negro League team, she succeeded in a male-dominated field. Growing up in the early 1900s, the biracial Manley often ran into discrimination and heard, “That's just the way things are.” However, she organized boycotts and stood up for her rights and the rights of her players. Even after black ballplayers gained admission to the major leagues, Manley advocated on their behalf until the Hall of Fame began to induct and recognize “her players.” This appreciative biography gently limns the spirited individual behind these accomplishments. At the ballpark, Manley chose to sit in the stands “where the seats vibrated from foot-stomping excitement,” and when the score was close, she peeked between her white-gloved fingers. Both author and illustrator are on top of their games as they bring this inspiring story to life.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Effa Manley may be a name only die-hard baseball fans recognize, but this sweeping picture-book biography will help change that. African American Manley grew up playing baseball in the early 1900s in Philadelphia, where she frequently experienced racial prejudice, often targeted at her darker-skinned siblings. After moving to New York City, she met her husband at Yankee Stadium, and together they organized labor protests in Harlem and founded the influential Negro League team that became the Newark Eagles. A tireless champion for her players, Manley fought for fair salaries when some Eagles moved on to newly integrated major-league teams, and in later years, she lobbied for her players’ recognition in the Baseball Hall of Fame, where she became the first woman to be inducted. Vernick adds appeal to this straightforward biography with repetitive phrases that emphasize Manley’s activist spirit, while Tate’s slightly stylized acrylic paintings convey both the historical setting and the timeless excitement in the ballpark. Partner this welcome title with Kadir Nelson’s multi-award-winning history of the Negro Leagues, We Are the Ship (2008). Grades 1-3. --Gillian Engberg