Tag Archives: Linda Sue Park

A Words Look: KEEPING SCORE by Linda Sue Park

 

Last September, I was lucky enough to host a special Twitter chat on #mglitchat about the three middle reader books selected for the 2017 Global Read Aloud program. The three books are spectacular and I highly recommend all of them. The books were FENWAY AND HATTIE by Victoria Coe, THE WILD ROBOT by Peter Brown, and A LONG WALK TO WATER by Linda Sue Park. We were fortunate to also have Jim Averbeck, who did the original illustrations for A LONG WALK TO WATER, join us.The chat was so much fun and could have easily gone twice the allotted time of one hour. These creators, besides being immensely talented, are just great human beings. It was a highlight of my 2017, that is for sure.

About a week after the chat, a package arrived in the mail from New York. It was from Linda Sue Park. I anxiously ripped open the package and found a copy of her book, KEEPING SCORE! I was cartwheeling-across-the-dining-room floor happy. I knew Linda Sue was a baseball fan from our interactions on Twitter and in correspondences prior to the chat. In particular, I knew she was a New York Mets fan (a team which, I may remind everyone, was nobly defeated in the 2015 World Series by my team, the Kansas City Royals!).

I finally had an opening in research reading to squeeze in KEEPING SCORE over the holiday. It’s a great baseball book for young readers! Set in 1950’s New York City, she weaves a great story from the threads of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the rabid local fandoms for “Dem Bums”, the Giants, and the Yankees, scoring a baseball game, and the Korean War. If you have a young baseball fan in your life, you might set this title in front of them, or try one from this list I compiled at From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors blog.

Below is one of my favorite excerpts from the book. It’s when the Maggie, the young Dodgers fan, is learning to score a baseball game from the new guy—and Giants fan—Jim, down at the local firehouse.

From KEEPING SCORE by Linda Sue Park, 2008, Clarion Books.

          By the end of the game, Maggie knew how the defense was numbered. Not their uniform numbers, but their position numbers. Jim tore a sheet out of the back of the notebook so she could write it down to study at home.

1-pitcher
2-catcher
3-first base
4-second base
5-third base
6-shortstop
7-left field
8-center field
9-right field

          Jim also showed her what the numbers in the little squares meant. They told what each batter had done. “4-3” written in the square opposite the batter’s name meant that a ground ball had been hit to the second baseman (4) who had thrown it to the first baseman (3) for the out.          

          Jim could look at his score sheet and see exactly what had happened in any inning. Which was way better than just keeping it in your head, because when you were trying to remember what happened in a game, only the big exciting plays came to mind. But Maggie knew that baseball was often a game of little things—the pitcher falling behind in the count, the good throw to keep a runner from advancing, the slide to break up a double play—and those were hard to keep track of. Jim’s score sheet didn’t have every single thing written down, but the things that were there could really help you remember.

Great stuff, hey? With baseball season just around the corner, how about filling the dark days of winter with baseball reads?

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A Words Look: Linda Sue Park

“In order to find yourself in a book, you have to lose yourself in a book.” – Linda Sue Park

I kind of came to a Linda Sue Park fandom through a roundabout way. I didn’t read her books first. The way I came about it was through hearing her Ted X talk, Can A Children’s Book Change the World?. I highly recommend this video if you haven’t seen it yet. She hits it dead center in the middle of the target. Reading is magic. Libraries are the magic castle.

If I were a rich man, I’d buy every middle school kid in the country a copy of her book A LONG WALK TO WATER. All I can say is that it is great in a riveting, dramatic, true-life story kind of a way. Everyone NEEDS to read this book!

Empathy is another of the superpowers that grow from being a reader.

Empathy —> Engagement

A LONG WALK TO WATER is one of the three middle reader selections for the 2017 Global Read Aloud starting October 2, 2017. The other two books are Victoria Coe’s excellent FENWAY AND HATTIE and the completely awesome out-of-left-field book, THE WILD ROBOT from Peter Brown. These three authors (and possibly GRA Founder Pernille Ripp) have agreed to participate in a #MGLitChat Pro Chat I am hosting on September 21, 2017, to spotlight the 2017 Global Read Aloud program, the three middle reader selections, and these authors. This is your invitation to join us at 9:00 PM Eastern on the #MGLitChat Twitter feed.

And to let you in on a little secret…

Linda Sue Park, Victoria Coe, Peter Brown, and Pernille Ripp are just about the nicest people you’d ever “meet”.

Keep reading people! Read out of your comfort zone. Read about the “other” and develop an empathetic eye and mind. We need diverse books in each of our lives. Diversity = difference. Empathy allows you to accept the differences and build relationships.

Build a better world, one book at a time. Right, Linda Sue Park?