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A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson (Carter G Woodson Honor Book (Awards)) Hardcover – July 22, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Series: Carter G Woodson Honor Book (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dial (July 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803726619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803726611
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. Just in time for baseball season comes a winning biography of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, one of only three women (so far) to play professional baseball. Johnson was a pitcher with the Negro Leagues' Indianapolis Clowns from 1953 to 1955. In the introduction, Johnson speaks directly and movingly to the reader about her meeting with author Green, who then lets the famous ballplayer tell her own story in a lively first-person narrative. Johnson's ebullient personality and determination fairly leap off the page as the biography follows her from her childhood on her grandmother's South Carolina farm and her personal struggle against discrimination ("this colored girl thinks she can play ball") through her breakthrough and triumph on the team. The short, action-packed chapters are illustrated with occasional photos of Johnson and of other players she knew, including Satchel Paige, who taught her how to throw the curveball ("The first thing you gotta do, little missy, is stop squeezing the ball so tight"). Although baseball fans will be the first to grab this title, the true story of the underdog who succeeds despite tremendous odds will have wide appeal. Green includes a bibliography and a list of organizations and baseball Web sites. Debbie Carton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"A winning biography of Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson...the true story of the underdog who succeeds despite tremendous odds." -Booklist

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What a great book !! Michelle Green does a wonderful job telling the story of Mamie Johnson, Negro league pitcher, and the first woman to ever pitch during the regular season for a men's team. Johnson is a true American hero. This is a little known part of our history that the author vividly brings to life. A Strong Right Arm tells an inspiring story for everyone, baseball fan and non-fan alike.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By EnglishTeacher on September 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Do you have a dream? If you don't, maybe my story will get you started working on one. If you do, darling, you're already halfway to making it come true." Mamie Johnson's story is one that many will not be familiar with but one that leaves you feeling like you have met a new friend. This is a would be a great book for children between the grades 3-5 and are sports fans. But reading about Mamie's desire to achieve the goals she has had throughout her life is inspirational for any age. This is a great read for anyone looking for a story of courage and determination.

Mamie recounts her dream of playing baseball. Growing up in the 1930's and 40's was especially difficult for African American females, especially ones who loved baseball. But Mamie had a deep love for baseball and the determination to do "what she had been made to do."
Mamie takes us on her journey which began with the Police Athletic League when she was in elementary school giving her her first chance to play with the boys. Like many times after this, Mamie was able to leave people speechless with her ability to play baseball for a woman or a man. Then two years after graduating from high school in 1953, Mamie had her chance at the minors.
Standing at only 5'2" and 92 pounds, Mamie earned her spot pitching for the Indianapolis Clowns, a team in the Negro League. Mamie was one of only three women to every play in the Negro League. Before her baseball career came to an end, Mamie earned the name "Peanut" while playing in the Negro World Series for her image of being "a peanut of a woman in a man's game" as one mouthy fan put it.
Mamie's life story represents the power of a dream. You are never too young to begin dreaming and setting goals for your life.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Becky on October 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I believe this is a great book for young girls and also die hard baseball fans. It gives the wonderful message that if you really want to do something deep down in your heart, you can do it. Mamie Johnson proved this by being only one of three women ever in the Negro League. All througout her life she overcame both the fact of being an African American and a girl. She proved to everyone that she deserved a her position as a pitcher on the team. This book not only discuses the challenges of being a woman playing a man's game, but it also discuses the issue of segregation in the 1940's and 1950's. She discusses the problems the Negro League had to endure when playing games in the south, along with the the problems players like Jackie Robinson encountered in the major leagues as the first African American baseball player to cross the color barrier and play on a white major league team. Besides being a great inspirational story about a girl who defeated the odds and followed her dreams, it is also a great read because it describes one of the hidden and unacknowledged aspects in the history of baseball.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Green presents the fascinating story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, one of only three female professional baseball players. Raised in the Deep South, Johnson had a deep love of baseball early on and wanted to play the game, although she had two strikes against her: she was female and she was African American. Green describes Johnson's efforts to challenge the boundaries built around her because or her race and gender, and recounts both victories and defeats in the face of overt racism and sexism. Johnson's biggest break came in 1953, when she was signed by the Indianapolis Clowns in baseball's Negro Leagues. With the color barrier broken by Jackie Robinson, many players from the Negro Leagues had moved on to the Major League, leaving the owners of the Clowns desperate to sign new talent. Johnson played for the team until 1955. The book concludes with Johnson's present-day passion to keep people conscious of the Negro Leagues and their role in baseball's history.
Although Green's first-person narration in the character of Mamie Johnson is confusing at first, the story of Johnson's life is compelling. The reader cannot help but admire Johnson. The vivid portrayal of the Negro Leagues and the prejudices of the day make this a great selection for Black History Month assignments, and Johnson's role as one of only three female pro baseball players makes this suitable for Women's History Month as well. However, it will be a shame if those commemorations are the only occasions when this book is read. The book includes an introduction by Johnson herself, who recounts how the author discovered her and her story; there are also a list of additional resources and a note about the "They Played Baseball" foundation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
A Strong Right Arm

The Story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson

By: Michelle Y. Green

Whoosh! Strike Two! Another breaking ball. He knew I had him right where I wanted him to be. The best part of baseball was trying to get inside the other guy's head and outthinking him each time. As for me being a girl, that was a plus. I had a good head and they never saw it coming. Whoosh! Strike Three!! Mamie first found out about baseball while living with her grandmother in Ridgeway, S.C. Almost everyday her uncle would play baseball with her and her friends and teach them about the game. Unfortunately her grandma died, so her mother came and got her from Washington D.C. However, her mother was working full time and could not take care of her, so she went to live with her aunt and uncle in Long Branch, New Jersey. Mamie hated moving because she had to leave all her friends behind, but the person she missed the most was Uncle Leo, A.K.A. "Bones." He was her coach, and now she didn't have one, but that wouldn't stop her. Mamie was introduced to softball, but didn't like it, so she quit the team after three games. Next, she tried out and made the all boys Police Athletic League. Of course, she was teased by her teammates, but that didn't stop her from helping them win the division championships two years running. At seventeen, Mamie and her best friend Rita Jones went for a tryout for the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. The two girls were thrown out, but not before Mamie showed them what they'd be missing. She threw her baseball from the outfield, all the way to home plate. She and Rita tried not to let that discourage them and went back to playing Sandlot ball. That's where a man named Bish Tyson noticed Mamie.
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