Monday, March 4, 2013

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Thank you Jen and Kellee for hosting this weekly!  To see what others are reading and recommending, or to participate, be sure to check out their blog Teach Mentor Texts :)

I am an avid Yankees fan and enjoy reading books about baseball so I was excited to read the historical fiction picture book, Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud that Changed Baseball by David A. Kelly and Oliver Dominguez.  Before reading this book I never knew that they put mud on the baseballs in the major leagues!  I loved learning about Lena's discovery of using mud on the baseballs instead of the tobacco spit or water they were using.  The author's note gives more information about Lena Blackburne and how the mud is currently used before each game in the major leagues.  I am excited to share this new fun fact with other baseball fans! 

As a Yankees fan, I was also eager to read this historical fiction picture book about the Yankees legend, Joe DiMaggio!  Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe DiMaggio by Rob Skead and Floyd Cooper is the story of how the New York Yankees wanted to test Joe DiMaggio to see if he was really cut out for the major leagues so in 1936, they called up Satchel Paige for a favor.  Satchel Paige was the best pitcher at that time, but was not able to play in the major leagues because he was African American.  They asked Satchel to join a group of African American players and play a game against Joe DiMaggio to see how he bat against Satchel.  In this inspirational story, both Joe DiMaggio and Satchel Paige try to prove their greatness and skill level to others. The author's note at the end gives the reader detailed information about this historical game and how it impacted the game of baseball.  

Last month, our class read aloud The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen and loved it!  It is one of my many favorite books and I highly recommend reading it if you haven't yet!  I have had The Outside of a Horse by Ginny Rorby in my TBR stack and last week, I moved it up to the top and I am so glad I did.  This book reminded me so much of The Running Dream because in both books, the characters are faced with the loss of a limb and significant tragedies.  In The Outside of a Horse, Hannah loves horses and watching horse races with her father.  Her mother passed away so she spends time with horses to help her cope with that loss along with missing her father who is fighting in the Iraq war.  One day, she receives the news from her stepmother that her father is coming home and she is so excited, but is devastated when she sees her father without both legs.  Throughout the story, her father faces many struggles being an amputee along with suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  Hannah spends more and more time at the stables with the horses and tries to use the horses to help her father get back to his "normal" self.  While spending a lot of time at the stables, she hears tragic stories about how animals are abused, neglected, and sometimes killed in different circumstances such as horse races and in other countries.  She also begins to retreat more to the stables when her father begins to drink more to help him cope with his struggles.  This story is powerful, inspirational, and heartbreaking at times.  Due to some details in the story, I wouldn't recommend to students below 5th grade. A couple of my 5th graders read it last week, after I read it, and they loved it and immediately made connections to The Running Dream among other texts we have read about inspirational characters who face tragic events in their lives.

Happy Reading! :)


  1. The Outside of a Horse sounds like a fantastic book. I will definitely be looking for that one to read. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I am a big baseball fan, and am so intrigued to check out Something to Prove! It looks like a great story.

  3. The two baseball books look wonderful. I've seen so many picture books about baseball stories recently - great that this is so!

  4. I know a few baseball fans who will love the titles you shared. Wendelin Van Draanen is coming to my son's school soon for an author's visit--I'm think I'll get the book and read it with him before she visits. We both love horses.

  5. Love those baseball books! Always great to have new discoveries in a sport as old as it is! Seeing your post reminded me that I've been wanting to read The Running Dream . . . will have to add The Outside of a Horse to the stack, too!


  6. Hi Melanie, this must be what is called my 'reading gap' - as I don't really read novels/picture books about sports/athletes - the ones you have here appear very inviting though. Would definitely check them out.