Before 1947, Latino baseball players, like their African-American counterparts, found that acceptance into the Major Leagues was based on the tint of their skin rather than the talent they possessed. Many of these players were known and admired, and were able to display their impressive talents in exhibition games against star white players, but were not allowed to play on a Major League team. Winter (Fair Ball!, 1999, etc.) profiles 14 Latino ballplayers, 7 of whom never had their chance at the Majors. The author has selected an interesting, well-balanced variety of players and offers the information in an eye-catching, highly readable format. Each player is presented in a two-page spread that resembles the front and back of a baseball card. The text page is comprised of statistics and a brief biography of each personality and his career. The brightly colored acrylic illustration depicts the player in action and each “card” is placed on a bright blue or purple background and is framed in yellow. These cards introduce the reader to Dolf Luque, a light-skinned Cuban who played for several Major League teams from 1912 to 1932, and to others with darker skin like Tetelo Vargas and Martin Dihigo, who played their entire careers in the Negro Leagues and in leagues throughout Latin America. Perucho Cepeda and Luis Tiant Sr. were also barred, but lived to see their sons forge impressive Major League careers. Major League stars like Minnie Minoso, Roberto Clemente, and Juan Marichal appear here as well. An introduction by Bruce Markusen Rodríguez of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum sets the stage for what follows: an attempt to address a neglected facet of the development of baseball and its relation to American social history via fascinating anecdotes about both well-known and unknown baseball heroes. Sure to appeal to young baseball fans and their parents. (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 15, 2001

ISBN: 978-1-58430-234-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.


From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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