Sunday, August 12, 2012

Brothers at Bat

Brothers at Bat
written by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Steven Salerno
2012 (Clarion Books)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Check out Nonfiction Monday at The Nonfiction Detectives

I'm guessing nobody messed with the Acerra brothers when they were kids. There were 12 baseball loving brothers in the family. Once they came home from school, the door would slam as the boys would race outside to play baseball. The high school in Long Branch, New Jersey had a member of the Acerra family on the baseball team for twenty-two years in a row. The nine oldest brothers, from ages 13 to 32, formed a semi-pro team in 1938 and were coached by their father. Despite the pressure of playing together, the Acerra brothers were not high maintenance. The older brothers gave playing time to younger Acerras so they could improve. As Freddie said, "We stuck together." A test of this brotherhood came when Alfred attempted to bunt in a game. The ball came off his bat and plunked him in the eye. He was taken to the doctor and lost an eye. For a lot of people, that would have been the end of their playing days as a catcher, but the Acerra brothers worked with Alfred and he came back to playing the game they loved. The book takes an even more touching turn when talking about the service of six of the brothers in World War II. After the war, the Acerras continued to play until 1952. The family was honored in 1997 by the Baseball Hall of Fame for their unique devotion to the game.

Brothers at Bat is a book that would be great to read to your class at the beginning of the year. It promotes teamwork and family. I like the history involved in the book as well. If you study World War II, you can use this book to talk about the sacrifices endured by families of the greatest generation. Of course when spring rolls around, baseball books are always in style. You will easily round the bases with the winning Brothers at Bat.

Check out the discussion guide and classroom activity PDF on Audrey Vernick's website. Good stuff!

Other reviews:
The Nonfiction Detectives
Waking Brain Cells


8 comments:

  1. Once I thought it would be difficult to write another book about baseball with a novel slant, but I stand corrected. Audrey Vernick found the Acerra brothers and an inspirational baseball story.

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    1. There are definitely plenty of good baseball books out there. It really is finding a unique angle to a familiar subject. Thanks, Ana Maria!

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  2. Jeff, this one was sitting on my pile for next week's Nonfiction Monday. You beat me to it! I always love a good baseball book. I'm still trying to find the time to read Plunked!

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    1. The Nonfiction Detectives beat me to it as well. I thought about your love of baseball when I read this book.

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  3. Hi there Jeff, while not a huge baseball fan myself, I have a feeling that this book would introduce me to the sport just fine. Thanks for sharing this one!

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    1. It's just as much about family and loyalty. This is an extraordinary group of people. Thank you for stopping by, Myra!

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  4. Thank you so much for the kind review, Jeff. I'm going to share it with the Acerra brothers (three are still alive). I suspect they're going to get a big kick out of your opening line.

    I wanted to point out that there's a discussion/classroom activity guide for BROTHERS AT BAT available for free download from my website:C:\Users\Audrey\Brothers At Bat Curriculum Guide.pdf

    Thanks again--

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    1. Thank you, Audrey! I added the link for the curriculum guide. Congratulations on a terrific book.

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