Sixth-grader Jack Mogens loves to play baseball. He's a fist-bumping, sometimes a swing and a miss and just as often sending a scalding single to left field kind of guy. He's on the team. He's part of the team. His friends are on the team. It's all good. Then the day comes when one of those pitches he really doesn't like hits him and hits him hard enough to scare him.
This isn't a story about a team with bullies and archrivals. This is a story about a boy who has to battle himself. He has to find a way back to baseball and all the things it means in his life after he gets beaned. So it's an internal story at least as much as it's an external story. For boys who have read Lupica, Feinstein, Bowen and Christopher, this may not be what they expected but it may be exactly what they needed and are searching for. What does it take to get past the fear? How do you keep your self-esteem and identity intact and be one of the guys when you are wondering who you are, wondering if you have what it takes and working on finding your sense of self and enough courage to get back in the batter's box?
From the stands the Little League game looks like fun and games but from view of the hearts and minds of those young players it can be a whole different world and this story will connect to that very real world and all of its pain, anxiety and intensity. Here's a chance to read a baseball journey with a whole different kind of trophy waiting at the end. 247 pages Ages 9-13 978-0545297141