Guide to Juvenile Baseball Books: I
- Lawton, Charles. Home Run Hennessey, or, Winning the All-Star Game. New York: Cupples & Leon, 1941. New star slugger for a prep team overcomes a fear of beaning, poisoned orangeade, and a gang of jewel thieves to help accomplish the subtitle feat.
- Leitch, Will. Catch. New York: Razorbill, 2005. The summer between high school and college for a young baseball star who will play no more.
- Leonard, Burgess. Rookie Southpaw. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1951. Pitching phenom Clem Gompers eschews college for a big bonus; the bonus pays for his brother's operation, gets his mother into the best sanatorium, and retires the mortgage on their tobacco farm.
I would keep the ending--where he pitches a no-hitter in the pennant-winning game--a secret, if I wasn't confident that I am the last person in the history of the Universe who will actually read this book.
- Levinson, Marilyn. And Don't Bring Jeremy. New York: Holt, 1985. The narrator, a Little Leaguer who has moved to a new neighborhood, must make new friends, make the team, and learn how to deal with his peers' rejection of his mildly retarded younger brother (Jeremy).
A novel that teaches tolerance and accommodation for the retarded; the sport theme is central.
- Levy, Elizabeth. Something Queer at the Ball Park: A Mystery. Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. New York: Delacorte, 1975. A missing bat causes all kinds of trouble till the mystery is solved.
No, there's nothing campy about the title. One of a series of junior-reader type kids' mysteries with various themes.
- Lewis, J. Patrick. Tulip at the Bat. Illustrated by Amiko Hirao. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. A ball game played by animals is won by a mighty blast from Tulip the Hippo.
Engaging, active picture book. Lewis's text, in verse, echoes "Casey at the Bat."
- Lewis, Marjorie. Wrongway Applebaum. Illustrated by Margot Apple. New York: Coward-McCann, 1984. A kid who's useless at baseball helps organize a fifth-grade team and hits an all-but-home-run in its Big Game.
Pleasant intermediate novel.
- Lincoln, Nathan B. "Four-Legged Baseball." The Open Road for Boys. Repr. Owen (1948). Cowboys tell tall tales of baseball on horseback with a gun-totin' umpire.
- Little, Jean, and Claire Mackay. Bats about Baseball. Illustrated by Kim LaFave. Toronto: Viking, 1995. Ryder's grandma is so obsessed with baseball that she interprets every sentence he utters as somehow related to the game.
Clever concept for a picture book.
- Lloyd, Emily. Home Run Has-Been: The Case of the Sluggish Slugger. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999. Star hitter is in a slump, prompting cries that the fix is in; the Kinetic City Super Crew ("six cool kids and a fast-talking computer") get to the bottom of the case, which involves, unsurprisingly, no fix at all.
One of a series of intermediate-reader science-oriented mysteries, with various activities and puzzles in the back of the book.
- Long, Loren. Barnstormers: Game 1. See Bildner.
- Lorbiecki, Marybeth. Jackie's Bat. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. Picture book with generous helpings of text chronicles Jackie Robinson's first year with the Dodgers through the eyes of a white batboy.
- Lord, Bette Bao. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson. New York: Harper, 1984. Repr. HarperTrophy 1986. A Chinese girl moves to Brooklyn in 1947 and learns English and American through the medium of baseball.
Beautifully crafted novel that succeeds as immigrant fiction, as a young girl's narrative, and as baseball story.
- Lowry, Lois. Switcharound. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. Brother and sister are exiled to Des Moines to spend a summer baby-sitting and coaching their half-brother's baseball team; their thoughts turn to revenge.
A well-crafted look at the dynamics of step-families, tempered with considerable humor.
- Lubar, David. Dog Days. Plain City, OH: Darby Creek, 2004. Ballplayer who loves dogs solves a mystery involving a hungry stray and a bloodstained wall.
- Lupica, Mike. The Big Field. New York: Philomel, 2008. Youth-league shortstop, moved to second base to accommodate a star prospect, must sort through various male-bonding problems, especially with his ex-shortstop father.
- Lupica, Mike. Heat. 2006. New York: Puffin, 2007. Pitching phenom tries to survive in the Bronx after the death of his father.
Sanguine novel that insists that talent and dreams are all you really need to overcome any obstacle. Notable for unpatronizing treatment of Hispanic characters by an Anglo author; for a similar approach, see Corbett.
- Lynch, Chris. Gold Dust. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. White Boston baseball fanatic befriends West Indian newcomer in the winter and spring of 1975.
Intelligent exploration of both the energy of sport and the inertial forces of racism.
- Lynch, Chris. Slot Machine. 1995. New York: HarperTrophy, 1996. Unathletic Elvin Bishop attends a sports-mad summer camp and finds difficulty fitting into any of the "slots" designated for the campers; baseball figures briefly as one of the activities he's not destined for.
- Lytle, Robert A. A Pitch in Time. Illustrated by Bill Williams. Auburn Hills, MI: EDCO, 2002. Youth-league ballplayer stumbles into a rift in time and finds himself in Civil-War-era Michigan.