- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 18 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Listening Library
- Audible.com Release Date: September 28, 2009
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002QX7RWI
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Bat 6 Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Virginia Euwer Wolff's Bat 6 takes place in post World War II Oregon, but it could just as easily have taken place in any county in America. Ostensibly, it is about an historic girl's softball play-off in 1949. But really it is a tale of how prejudice and bigotry can bring tragedy and how forgiveness can change it all.
The book follows the girls of the Bear Creek Ridge Grade School team and the Barlow Road Grade School team as they prepare for the fiftieth anniversary of Bat 6, so called because the players had to be in 6th grade, and the trophy was a bat with the names of the winners and the most valuable player inscribed on it.
That year was different from all the other 49 years. People were still recovering from the war, and hard feelings periodically surfaced, as in the racist soaped message about the Japanese on the windows of McHenry's store. Two new players emerged that were to change the Bat 6 tournament forever. Aki Mikami recently returned with her family from a Japanese internment camp, and a brand new girl who called herself Shazam showed up on the first day of school.
The story unfolds through a series of monologues by each member of each team. Shazam's father was killed in Pearl Harbor, and her mother was "not on her feet yet," so Shazam lived with her grandmother. Shazam blamed all Japanese people for her father's death. Although she hinted at this anger several times, no one wanted to confront her about it. They couldn't have guessed that these feelings would result in a tragedy that would permanently mar the final play-off and affect the community for years to come.
It is not the incident itself that makes Bat 6 an award-winning book. Virginia Euwer Wolff won the New York Public Library 100 Best Books of the Year award, a School Library Journal Best Book award, an ALA Notable Book listing, and a Jane Addams Award for this thought provoking work. What makes Bat 6 unique is the community's response to the incident that left Aki in a head and neck brace with her jaw wired shut for the entire summer.
As Virginia Euwer Wolff says on her blog, "As I looked through the characters, I found one who seemed to be ideally suited to do the right thing..... It is her oddness, her peculiarity, that enables her to do the right thing at the end of the story."
Manzanita or Manny to her friends, is the one teammate who convinces Shazam to come and see Aki after the incident. The visit is awkward and uncomfortable, but in the end, Shazam apologizes, making room for individual and community healing.
The book is a powerful foray into issues of racism, prejudice, war, and forgiveness. It is ideal for middle age readers and young adults, 4th grade through high school. The characters are complex, vivid and engaging. Of the 21 teammates, not one is left unchanged, and the same may be said for the entire community. The teen language is convincing and amusing. As Tootie, the catcher for Bear Creek Ridge, says of Aki's prowess on the ball field, "hubba hubba ding ding!"
Bat 6 is one of those books that stays with you long after it has been read.
"I'm not sure we human beings can make complete sense of our history. What we can do is keep telling the stories. And, luckily, we do just that. We keep trying to get it right."
Virginia Euwer Wolff, 2009