Sports Story Collection for Both Boys and Girls

LAY-UPS AND LONG SHOTS: An Anthology of Short Stories by Joseph Bruchac, Lynea Bowdish, David Lubar, Terry Trueman, CS Perryess, Dorian Cirrone, Jamie McEwan, Max Elliot Anderson, Peggy Duffy.  Darby Creek Publishing, 2008.

ISBN: 978-1-58196-5          112 pages          $15.95
Darby Creek Publishing’s new young adult sport-themed story collection, LAY-UPS AND LONG SHOTS, is a winner. The mix of sport stories for both boys and girls makes this a rare collection of high interest topics with true literary appeal.
“SWISH: A Basketball Story” by Bruchac presents an untalented but ardent basketball player who discovers what’s most important in his life.
“Fat Girls (Can’t) Don’t Run” by Bowdish introduces an overweight 6th-grade girl who surprises her gym class and especially herself.
“Bounce Back” by Lubar shows Tyler practicing so intensely for a ping-pong tournament he sets himself up for failure.
“H-O-R-S-E” by Trueman is a true jewel. A 12-year-old boy faces his friend and nemesis in the ultimate game of hoops. This story is interspersed with vibrant free verse poetry.
“Amazing Dirt Girl Rides Again” by Perryess focuses on 7th-grader, Amanda, who in her effort to be cool for a heart-throb, jeopardizes her relationship with her best friend.
“Riding the Wave” by Cirrone is set in Florida where a 14-year-old girl–who’d rather sun than surf–changes her mind about trying out the board when the most unlikely surfer struts his stuff.
“Red Shorts, White Water” by McEwan features rafter, Ted, who tries to impress an older girl with his white water skills and instead faces major embarrassment.
“Big Foot” by Anderson takes Jeff, with his over-sized foot, into a new town where he ultimately earns respect from the normally derisive football team when he shows just how far he can kick. 
“Song of Hope” by Duffy deals with an enthusiastic girl soccer player’s problems when she tries to bridge the cultural divide between her Korean mother and herself.

Baseball Books & a Birthday

Happy Birthday wishes are in order today for my son, Dan!!! He’s shown at the left with his father on his wedding day, two and a half years ago. From the very first, he loved sports–baseball, basketball, soccer…

So as a salute to Dan (who played a valiant Little League catcher) and in the spirit of the summer season, I’ll highlight a few baseball books today.

The Littlest Leaguer by Syd Hoff. Harper Collins, 2008.
An EZ reader in which the main character shows that determination overcomes obstacles.

Hello, Fredbird! by Ozzie Smith. Mascot Books, 2006. (I put this one in for Dan.)
St. Louis Cardinals’ mascot, Fredbird, shares his fun at the ballgame.

Swindle by Gordon Korman. Scholastic, 2008. When a boy is cheated out of a rare Babe Ruth baseball card, he leads an unlikely team of friends to right his wrong.

The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles. Harcourt, 2007. When 12-year-old House (a pitcher with a broken elbow) somehow manages to overcome his animosity toward pesky visitor, Frances, he helps combine forces for both an exciting baseball game and a winning performance for Aurora County’s 200th Anniversary pageant.

Edward’s Eyes by Patricia MacLachlin. Atheneum, 2007. A bittersweet story of a family’s loss and legacy woven around the game of baseball.

Summerland by Michael Chabon. Hyperion, 2002. In this first novel for younger readers by the Pultizer Prize winning author, Mr. Chabon offers a rich fantasy story for older readers which weaves mythological elements into the ultimate contest of baseball.

I just had to include SUMMERLAND because I read it shortly after I’d finished the first draft of my fantasy baseball novel for middle grade readers (THE SLIGHTLY TANGLED TALES OF JIM-BO BAXTER.) I couldn’t believe that someone else had thought of combining the two worlds (although Mr. Chabon’s fantasy world is on a much more elevated level than mine.) Still I felt honored that I’d shared a bit of writing inspiration with such a great writer–and I recently had the opportunity to met Mr. Chabon and listen to his thoughts on writing. What a wonderful experience! And while my TALES has earned a regional award from SCBWI, it has yet to find a publishing home.

So hats off to my amazing son, Dan, on his birthday! And may his favorite baseball team, the CARDINALS, have another World Series winning season.

And three cheers for great summer reads!