With Major League Baseball’s World Series soon to be in full swing (pun intended!), it’s the perfect time to pick one, two, or all of the podcasts about America’s past-time. You’ll knock one out of the park for sure! Your students will love these literary links to the following podcasts from Program 5:
- Negro Baseball League (5-#4)
- “Casey at the Bat” (5-#5)
- “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (5-#6)
- “Who’s on First?” (5-#19)
Pair a Podcast with a Picture Book . . . Double Play!
You can’t beat books that align perfectly with podcast topics. The 64-page Casey at the Bat takes Ernest Thayer’s classic 1888 poem and brings it to life with engaging pen and ink illustrations by Jim Hull. Inquiring middle grades minds eager to learn more about the ballad’s history will find Martin Gardner’s informative introduction most interesting!
Looking for full color illustrations? The 32-page Casey at the Bat, illustrated by Patricia Polacco, is sure to satisfy. To follow up, focus on the poem’s literary elements, and teach a lesson on figurative language or point of view. Or, if you’ve checked out both books, why not pursue a comparison and contrast activity?
Teammates (930L), written by Peter Golenbock, will enhance your lesson on the Negro Baseball League. This picture book incorporates historic photos amid lush watercolors by Paul Bacon. It tells the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black player on a Major League Baseball team.
Make Fiction Your Focus . . . A “Novel” Idea!
Incorporate a novel or two! It’s always nice to have a couple of choices centered around a particular topic or theme. In fact, I always found it was especially helpful to offer books with protagonists of different genders. By offering options, you can meet different interests as well as allow accessibility to students of different reading levels.
In Newbery Honor–winner Joan Bauer’s book, Soar (510L), readers are introduced to a male protagonist who loves baseball, but is unable to play for health reasons. That doesn’t stop him from coaching, and his can-do attitude is just what is needed!
Bette Bao Lord’s In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (730L) tells the tale of an immigrant girl struggling to fit in. Through her enjoyment of baseball (and learning about Jackie Robinson!), she realizes that being different doesn’t have to be limiting.
Series’ Selections . . . Bases Loaded!
In honor of the World Series, why not select a story that’s part of a series of its own? There are plenty of possibilities from which to pick, all sure to make diehard fans of their readers!
- “A Baseball Card Adventure” – by Dan Gutman, this action-packed and historically accurate series centers around Joe, a young boy who has the ability to journey back in time via baseball cards (690L)
- “The Contract”– by Derek Jeter, this series fictionalizes his own life, and reveals what helped him become his best both on and off the field (770L)
- “All-Stars” – by Cal Ripken, Jr. and Kevin Cowherd, this series has a different protagonist in each book, each with his own story to tell, and is filled with lessons on teamwork and respect and (810L)
Over the Fence and . . . Home Run!
You’ll get a grand slam with Odd Ball: Hilarious, Unusual and Bizarre Baseball Moments (880L), written by Timothy Tocher. This entertaining book incorporates comic-book style drawings to illustrate interesting incidents in Major League Baseball history.
Not only your sports fans will be engaged when you go further afield with Rising Above: How 11 Athletes Overcame Challenges in Their Youth to Become Stars (1010L)! This book, by father and sons trio Gregory, Elijah, and Gabriel Zuckerman, profiles the childhoods and challenges of 11 athletes in a collection brimming with human interest stories. Note: Some selections may be a bit strong for your students, so you may want to preview before sharing.
Be sure to be on the lookout for the next post in our Literary Links series, where we’ll focus on Program 4 possibilities! You’ll discover even more picture books, novels, and nonfiction works to partner with The Walking Classroom’s podcasts.