Children's

Peanuts and Crackerjacks: 10 Delicious Kids’ Baseball Books

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Summer is here and it’s time to read some kids’ baseball books. You don’t need to actually like or follow the sport to recognize the mood and imagery. Bright sunshine, cheery organ music, the smell of popcorn, and jovial crowds have created a shared experience around America’s national pastime, recognizable even by people who haven’t been to a single game. Whether it’s cheering at the local T-Ball field, making the trip to a major league game, or even picking up on references in pop culture, most Americans associate baseball with a certain set of positive feelings.

However, sports, like most things, are rarely as pleasant or simple as they appear on the surface, and baseball is no exception. Whatever issues are played out in modern times, baseball also has to grapple with its place in America’s history. A true roundup of kid’s baseball books would be incomplete without mentioning the segregation of Black players, baseball’s place in the Japanese internment camps during World War II, and the women’s leagues that sprang up to keep things moving when men were called to fight. Through the ups and downs, baseball remains a steady part of many Americans’ everyday lives, and there are a host of beautiful picture books that celebrate this.

baseball saved us book cover

Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki and Dom Lee

A story based on true events, Baseball Saved Us describes the creation of a baseball league inside a Japanese internment camp during World War II. While being forcibly held unjustly, Shorty and his family find reilef and dignity in the act of playing the game. A baseball (and American history) classic!

cover of sports illustrated graphic novel wild pitch

Wild Pitch (Sports Illustrated Kids Graphic Novels) by Eric Fein, Benny Fuentes, Gerardo Sandoval

Kids love graphic novels, and Sports Illustrated has a series that is an attention grabber for reluctant readers. I have several of these in my elementary school library, and they always fly off the shelves. In this installment, two teammates struggle when an accidental injury on the field is suspected to be more than a mistake.

book cover in the year of the year of that boar and jackie robinson

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord and Marc Simont

Another beloved basedball classic, this book introduces us to Shirley Temple Wong, who arrives in 1947 Brooklyn with very little English but very big dreams. Baseball is the catalyst that allows her to connect with her classmates and feel at home in a very strange place.

book cover the william hoy story

The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin and Jez Tuya

William Hoy is the reason that baseball is played the way it is today. As a deaf player, he worked exceedingly hard to overcome prejudice and earn his spot on a professional team. However, he still struggled to hear the umpire’s calls. Thanks to Hoy, the umpires still use hand signals to this day.

cover of mamie on the mound

Mamie on the Mound: A Woman in Baseball’s Negro Leagues by Leah Henderson and George Doutsiopoulos

Coming at you with another picture book biography, in Mamie on the Mound we meet Mamie “Peanut” Johnson. Fighting segregation and prejudice for being Black and a woman, Maime still kept an impressive pitching record and broke barriers for female athletes following in her footsteps.

cover of jackie robinson american hero

JACKIE ROBINSON: AMERICAN HERO by Sharon Robinson

While there is no lack of books about Jackie Robinson available, this particular biography has the distinction of being written by Jackie’s daughter. Presented in more of a factual than narrative style, Jackie Robinson: American Hero is perfect for kids writing reports or just wanting to learn more!

cover of we are the ship the story of negro baseball league

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

Nelson’s paintings are always, always breathtaking. His striking style breathes life into everything he illustrates. We Are The Ship delivers on this magic with over 50 full page paintings. Telling the courageous story of Negro League Baseball, this large and lovely book is perfect for baseball fans of every age.

cover of camp average

Camp Average by Craig Battle

Flipping the script with this sweet, engaging story, Camp Average introduces us to a group of campers who are perfectly fine not excelling at sports, and rebel against their competive camp director by trying to throw the giant baseball tournament the director is so determined to win. Realistic characters and nostalgic camp memories make this a book adults will enjoy as much as kids.

cover of mama played baseball

Mama Played Baseball by David A. Adler and Chris O’Leary

We’re not having a baseball books roundup without pulling some A League of Their Own magic in. Historical and lush, with an author’s note providing 1940’s context, Mama Played Baseball invites us to see this moment through a child’s eyes. Amy watches her mother play baseball and works on a project for when her father finally returns home from the war, adapting brilliantly as the adults in her life are changing roles before the backdrop of World War II.

cover of players in pigtails

Players In Pigtails by Shana Corey and Rebecca Gibbon

How about one more featuring the All American Girls Professional Baseball League? Inspired by the fact that the popular song Take Me Out to the Ball Game was actually written about a little girl, Shana Corey dreamed up this story about the strength and determination needed for a girl to find a sisterhood in the big leagues.

Hopefully you’ve found some kids’ books about baseball that meet your needs! Looking for more baseball bookishness? Check out this list of middle grade books about baseball.

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