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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

It's that baseball time of year

April 17, 2013

It's that time of year! Baseball season has officially started. Little leaguers are playing, summer teams are forming, and lots of people are heading to major and minor league ballparks. (I just bought stamps commemorating major league ballplayers.)

Even those who don't play baseball are sure to find something exciting or inspiring in the season's offerings. A new movie, 42, (not for young children) about Jackie Robinson made me think that baseball has sometimes made people rethink what's possible, maybe even reconsider expectations, much like the brave subject of this movie did.

Is a "perfect game" possible? Rarely. Can a boy who is striving to pitch a no-hit, no walks, batters-up-batters-down game learn anything from a Special Olympics Unified Sports team? You bet.

And so can I from reading a new novel by Fred Bowen. In Perfect Game (Peachtree), Isaac has to rethink his idea of perfection when he works with a group of kids and one boy in particular.

It's a baseball story for sure, with a fast-paced plot. But more. In an era where differences often lead to misunderstandings, it's a timely book, too. It's harder to dislike other people when you get to know them, when there's a chance to walk the proverbial mile in another's shoes.

This book is the kind of vicarious experience for both typical and special kids (I'd say 8 or 9 years old, though older kids will find something, too). It's an ideal book for adults and children to share. It may lead to some thoughtful discussion about what's important, how other people feel — and, of course, baseball. After all, it is the season!

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"Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks." — Dr. Seuss