Most of September's Save the Picture Book! books are nonfiction, and I love that. I love it, first, because I think kids love nonfiction, and second because baseball picture books open so many windows to American History. I toyed with the idea of having all the books be nonfiction. The only problem is, some of my favorite baseball picture books are fiction. Here are just a few. They might be your favorites, too.
Teachers, if your students love baseball books, please see the post below for a printable flyer on how kids can read baseball picture books, write reviews, and win picture books and other fun stuff for your classroom.
First up, Dino-Baseball by Lisa Wheeler, ill. by Barry Gott (Lerner, 2010)
I love this series of carnivores vs. herbivores playing popular modern day sports. And if you've been watching Dinosaur Revolution, you know that carnis vs. herbis is a fair fight. The diplodocus' tail is a deadly, deadly weapon. That being said, they don't fight. They just play baseball. Lots of fun!
Baseball Hour, by Carol Nevius, ill. by Bill Thompson.
At a wedding this weekend, a friend who teaches Parents as Teachers (an in-home program for parents as first educators) said she'd like to see more rhyming books about topics young children encounter in their day to day life. And she'd like them to be illustrated with photos. She was talking about babies, specifically. I think this book does the same for older children. It's fun for kids to see kids doing the same things they do, particularly when those children are illustrated by Bill Thompson. I believe his style is called photorealism, but many of you know much more about art than I do. I do know that he is one of my favorite children's book illustrators. I love watching the children in his books come alive, and his lighting looks even more realistic than real life.
Bats at the Ballgame, written and ill. by Brian Lies (Houghton Mifflin, 2010.)
This book is a follow up to Bats at the Library, which is kind of surprising given that bats playing baseball is so perfect. Lies has some nice plays on words regarding the baseball bats. The lighting is so incredible in this book, too. Any kid who's played with his friends or had a game run until sundown will recognize the dark stillness and scattered light of the field. My third grader loves the illustrations and reads the book again and again at school. A third grader still reading picture books? Home run in my book.