Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

If you like history, sports or awesome art then you need to read We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson. It turns out "America's favorite pastime" has a complex and fascinating history.

The players in the Negro League lived for baseball. Conditions weren't always great for these ball players, and sometimes conditions were terrible, but they knew they were doing something important.    

Nelson's oil paintings are fantastic. Several reminded me of trading cards with players striking a pose. Some show the team on the road and others catch players in action swinging the bat or pitching the ball.

The book immerses the reader in baseball. Each chapter is an "inning" building suspense to the end of the League's history. The book also immerses readers in the history of racial segregation and shows how these men wouldn't let anything stop them from playing ball - their way.
Summary: "Using an 'Everyman' player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. The voice is so authentic... But what makes this book so outstanding are the dozens of full-page and double- page oil paintings--breathtaking in their perspectives, rich in emotion, and created with understanding and affection for these lost heroes of our national game."

While I found this book in the kids section the narrator is compelling and has an adult voice. Baseball enthusiasts of any age will appreciate this amazing true story.  This book counts towards the POC Reading Challenge! For more information visit the book's website!

Publisher: Hyperion Book, 2008      Pages: 96
Rating: 4 Stars      Source: Public Library

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