The Washington Post

Start the season with new baseball books

April is a great time for baseball fans. It’s the first chapter in a season of stories — winning streaks, stolen bases, injuries and pennant races. It’s also a good time to crack open a few baseball-inspired books. There are several new titles for kids who want to combine humor, mystery and a life lesson with their favorite sport.

Extra Innings
by Tiki and Ronde Barber with Paul Mantell. Ages 8 to 12.
145 pages.

Twins and former pro football players Tiki and Ronde Barber have been stars on the field and recently stars of a series of sports books based on their youth in Roanoke, Virginia. The first baseball book in the series has the two trying out for the middle school baseball team even though they had never played Little League. The banter between the two includes teasing but also support, and the story offers compelling lessons on overcoming setbacks.

New Kid
by Tim Green. Ages 9 to 13.
307 pages.

Former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Tim Green’s latest in his series of kids sports books features a boy whose dad is on the run. They move around and change names, and the boy is always the new kid. When he arrives in Liverpool, New York, Brock starts to hang out with a troublemaker. His P.E. coach discovers Brock’s talent for pitching and wants him to join the travel baseball team. But Brock isn’t sure how long he’ll be around.

Screaming at the Ump
by Audrey Vernick. Ages 10 to 14. 250 pages.

Casey has a different perspective on baseball. He isn’t interested in playing and has no favorite team. He works at his dad’s umpire school but doesn’t aim to follow in his father’s footsteps. Casey dreams of being a sportswriter. As he starts middle school, Casey has the chance to work on the school newspaper. Although he had learned a lot about fairness in umpire school, Casey’s first reporting assignment teaches him that being fair is not always easy.

Squeeze Play
by Cal Ripken Jr. with
Kevin Cowherd. Ages 8 to 12.
199 pages.

Sports parents can get a little crazy. The main character in former Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr.’s newest kids book knows all about it. Corey Maduro’s dad is quick to criticize and yell during games. It embarrasses the 12-year-old and his teammates. Also embarrassing is how the lone girl on the team grabs every opportunity to show up Corey. At a big tournament, will Corey figure out how to handle the two people who are pulling the team apart?

— Christina Barron



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