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She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story Hardcover – October 19, 2010
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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
Top customer reviews
Vernick describes Effa Manley's life from her childhood in Philadelphia, where she experienced discrimination at an early age, to her 1935 marriage to Abe Manley, who owned the Newark Eagles, in Newark, New Jersey, to her role as the only woman executive in Negro league baseball during the Eagles' tenure which lasted from 1936 to 1948. Vernick shows how Effa, in her fight to improve conditions for all African Americans, stood up to other team owners - all men, many of whom thought a woman had no place in baseball, to store owners who hired blacks only for menial positions, and to major league baseball executives like Branch Rickey who stole players from her. Effa showed those who had resigned themselves to just accepting life as it was, and who said to each other, "That's just the way things are," that things could be changed for the better with some daring and some effort.
Tate's illustrations set the story's context with full page images of jazz musicians, protesters, ballplayers and the bus they traveled in, Effa in action, fans in the stands, and Effa's plaque in Cooperstown.
Children of all ages will enjoy Vernick's and Tate's book and may well draw some inspiration from it.
Her integrity, ingenuity, and insistence on fairness changed lives and the face of American baseball. Long after the Negro League disbanded she advocated for long overdue recognition and honors for players, including assignment to baseball's Hall of Fame. On July 30, 2006, she became the first female affiliated with the Negro League inducted into the Hall of Fame on her own merits. As her tombstone says, She Loved Baseball.
If ever there were a biography begging to be made into a movie, this is it. Is anyone in Hollywood ready to take it on?
And I should know because I live this experience first hand every day of my life. My wife is a successful commercial artist with her own business. My hair stylists is a women. My doctor is a women. And the lists goes on that I could talk about all day.
In this excellent story titled: She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story, Effa shares her love for baseball from the time as a child she judiciously attended baseball games at Yankee Stadium to her successful business endeavor to own a baseball team and become the first ever and only women to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Effa believed in herself, call it confidence, fought for her rights, and let nothing stand in her way. Congratulations Effa. There are no racial or gender lines to prevent people from fulfilling their dreams. Yes! The sky is the limit.
Once again, Audrey Vernick gives the reader (kids) a straightforward biographical story about how to ride above the circumstances. The setting is baseball with an exciting story with lots of lessons to learn. I strongly recommend this book for kids and young adults of all ages and I give it five stars. Marvin P. Ferguson, author of THE UNKNOWN BASEBALL PLAYER.