Friday, April 27, 2007

Baseball in poetry

On April 27, 1947, "Babe Ruth Day" at Yankee Stadium was held to honor the ailing baseball star. “Babe was given the greatest ovation in the history of the national pastime…” On this same day in 1983, Texas legend Nolan Ryan broke Walter Johnson’s 56-year old record with his 3,509th career strikeout. And on this day in 1996, Barry Bonds became only the fourth major leaguer to hit 300 homers and swipe 300 bases. Clearly, it’s time to celebrate baseball and poetry! Here are some of my favorite sports and baseball poetry books for children.

Adoff, Arnold. 1986. Sports Pages. HarperCollins.
Burleigh, Robert. 2003. Home Run. Voyager.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, comp. 1993. Extra Innings: Baseball Poems. Harcourt.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, comp. 1996. Opening Days: Sports Poems. Harcourt.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, comp. 1999. Sports! Sports! Sports! HarperCollins.
Janeczko, Paul. 1998. That Sweet Diamond. Atheneum.
Knudson, R. Roxanne, and May Swensen, comp. 1988. American Sports Poems. Orchard.
Koertge, Ron. 2006. Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. Candlewick.
Morrison, Lillian, comp. 1992. At the Crack of the Bat: Baseball Poems. Hyperion.
Prelutsky, Jack. 2007. Good Sports; Rhymes About Running, Jumping, Throwing, and More. Knopf.
Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2004. Diamond Life: Baseball Sights, Sounds, and Swings. Orchard.

And don’t forget the classic baseball poem, "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Thayer and available in picture book form illustrated by Patricia Polacco (Putnam, 1997) or by C. F. Payne (Simon & Schuster, 2003) and the Caldecott honor winning Casey At the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888, illustrated in “scrapbook” format by Christopher Bing (Handprint, 2000). Also fun to share-- the popular seventh inning song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by Jack Norworth also available in picture book form illustrated by Maryann Kovalski (Scholastic, 1993) or Alec Gillman (Aladdin, 1999).

Here’s one baseball poem, just for fun:

Play Ball!
by Lillian M. Fisher

It was my turn to bat
And I hit the ball
So hard it sailed
Right over the wall.
The crowd went wild.
I started to run.
How happy I’d be
If my team won.
First base, second,
third—I’m home free!
Hurrah for my team!
Hurrah for me!

From Hopkins, Lee Bennett, comp. 1999. Sports! Sports! Sports! HarperCollins.

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