Title: Out of Left Field
Author: Ellen Klages
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Sports Fiction
Pages: Print 320
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers partner in exchange for my honest review. The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.
Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she’s a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it’s a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy’s game and always has been. It’s not fair, and Katy’s going to fight back. Inspired by what she’s learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she’s not the only girl who plays baseball. With the help of friendly librarians and some tenacious research skills, Katy discovers the forgotten history of female ball players. Why does no one know about them? Where are they now? And how can one ten-year-old change people’s minds about what girls can do?
Set in 1957–the world of Sputnik and Leave It to Beaver, saddle shoes and “Heartbreak Hotel”–Out of Left Field is both a detailed picture of a fascinating historic period and a timelessly inspiring story about standing up for equality at any age.
This middle-grade historical fiction book provides information on women in baseball. This book is based in the fifties and discusses some of the obstacles women faced. Katy wants to play on her local little league baseball team with her best friend, PeeWee. Her and PeeWee were playing a game of baseball when a little league coach suggested she try out. Katy didn’t correct the coach when he referred to her as a boy; she merely informed him her name was Casey. Katy earns her place in the league but gets removed once the coach finds out her gender. She decides to write a letter to the league to get the decision overturned but to no avail, they respond by stating the sport is only for boys. Katy decides to fight it and starts digging for more information about female baseball players. With the help of her friend Jules, both girls find out the real challenge of being a woman in the sports industry. Katy gathers information, conducts interviews, and makes a new friend. Will she succeed in her quest to get the league? Will her efforts go unnoticed?
Overall, this is a well-written novel that focuses on critical issues that needed to be discussed. The book showcases the challenges women faced in the 1950s when trying to play a sport that was deemed appropriate only for men. Katy’s character is developed in a manner that emphasizes determination and perseverance in women. Katy does not give up, but she does run into more obstacles. I enjoyed the historical references, list of female baseball players, and the author’s note at the end. I would recommend this girl power book to any middle-grade youth who is interested in learning more about women in sports from a fictional point of view.
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