Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Brothers at Bat - #NFPB13

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and The Nonfiction Detectives. Every Wednesday, I'll review non-fiction picture book. (It may not always be a picture book. Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other non-fiction books are shared this week!

Title: Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team 
Author: Audrey Vernick 
Illustrator: Steven Salerno 
Publisher: Clarion Books 
Publication Date: April 2012 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction Narrative/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: The Acerra family had sixteen children, including twelve ball-playing boys. It was the 1930s, and many families had lots of kids. But only one had enough to field a baseball team . . . with three on the bench! The Acerras were the longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. They loved the game, but more important, they cared for
and supported each other and stayed together as a team. Nothing life threw their way could stop them.

Full of action, drama, and excitement, this never-before-told true story is vividly brought to life by Audrey Vernick’s expert storytelling and Steven Salerno’s stunning vintage-style art.
What I Think: Reading this book had me simultaneously wanting to be a kid again, ready to run out and play baseball, and wishing I had oodles of brothers. The artwork does a great job of bringing the story that Audrey tells to life. One image that sticks with me is when all the brothers are running out of the houses to play baseball. It was like I was watching them rush out of the door, hearing the screen door slam behind them as they wooshed by. There are more and more non-fiction picture book biographies popping up but I like that this book isn't about just one person, it's about all the brothers and how they worked together and were all bonded by baseball. They had moments of adversity, but by supporting each other, they persevered. I find it admirable to see how loyal they were to each other but also how passionate they were about baseball.
     The girl in me desperately wants to know that their sisters were up to while the boys were playing baseball...even if they weren't playing baseball, I'm sure they were involved or at least up to something themselves. I'm so curious about that!
     I'm really excited to hopefully use this book with a group of middle schoolers this year. At the beginning of the year, they will be focusing on expository writing and I'm going to use this as a jumping off kind of mentor text as well as possibly a mentor text for looking at how we use commas. I really like how narrative non-fiction draws a reader in and this book seems to prompt so many different opportunities to branch off into research: baseball, history of baseball, brothers playing baseball, war, sports in general, etc. I think this is a great text to use to talk about how we have to do research and let research lead us. Recently, I gathered a stack of non-fiction books to start brainstorming ideas for my own non-fiction narrative picture book biography and just checking out the books and seeing what has already been written about the subject I'm interested in is a great first step. Like Chris Lehman talks about in his book on research, Energize, we have to help kids venture into seeing what research is there and making adjustments in topics based on what they discover is out there. I love the possibilities for kicking of a research project with Brothers at Bat.
Read Together: Grades K - 12 
Read Alone: Grades 2 - 12 
Read With: Here Come the Girl Scouts and Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
Snatch of Text: 
     "But there was no jealousy, no rivalry, no fighting. As the younger brothers grew up, the older ones shared playing time. If someone dropped a fly ball or struck out, no one screamed or threw down his glove or stomped off the field.
     'We stuck together,' Freddie said."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Visualizing 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository, Informational, Personal Narrative, Commas (series), AAAWWUBBIS, Repetition 
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you felt part of a team, whether you were working with family or friends. Do research on baseball and create an informational text to share what you learned about baseball (get creative about what format you use to share your information).  
Topics Covered:  Family, Friendship, Baseball, Integration - History, Teamwork, Determination, Integration - Sports, Adversity
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