Sunday, June 22, 2008

Keeping Score

Yes, it is another review of a baseball book - but this time the book is a little different than ones I have read recently - the main character of the story is a GIRL!

Keeping Score (grade 4 and up) by Linda Sue Park is the story of Maggie-O (as in DiMaggio) a girl growing up in Brooklyn, NY in the early 1950's. She loves the Brooklyn Dodgers and loves to listen to them on the radio at the local firehouse where her Dad used to work (he was reassigned to a desk job after an accident). One day while listening to the game she meets the newest member of the firehouse, a guy named Jim, who is a Giants fan! Although they cheer for rival teams, they develop a friendship based on baseball. He is drafted into the Army, and is shortly shipped off to the Korean War. Maggie becomes a pen pal to him and through a three year period Maggie learns about disappointment and life lessons through her friendship with Jim and through baseball. The story also weaves Maggie's Catholic religion throughout the book and her heritage of being born to an Irish mother and Italian father . I love how Ms. Park (who was born to Korean immigrants) has Maggie describe her heritage - "Monday, Wednesday and Friday were macaroni nights. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday meant potatoes. Sundays alternated."

Although this book is set in the 1950's during the Korean war, I can see how kids today can relate to it and how they might be asking the same kind of questions about the Iraq war today that Maggie has about the Korean war.

This books also is one of those rare books that could appeal to both boys and girls.

the Washington Post has a review of the book here (and 2 other baseball books)
a review by a tweleve year old reader is at Flamingnet book review
SLJ gave it a good review also

In other baseball news, the Red Sox are in 1st (although only by 1.5 games) and next weekend my 7 year old's all-star team will be playing in the GA State pee-wee championship tournament - Go CH EAGLES!

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