Night Golfby William Miller, Cedric Lucas
Set in the South of the late 1950s, an African American boy who longs to play golf is banned from the game because of the color of his skin.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklySet in the 1950s, this inspiring picture book stars an African-American boy whose love of golf helps him rise above the racial prejudice that would keep him off the links. When young James discovers a rusty, cast-off golf club in the trash, nothing matches "how good the club felt in his hand." But the town's only golf course is open exclusively to white men. Longing to be near the game even if he can't play it, James takes a job as a caddy. As he lugs golf bags, the boy forges a bond with wise African-American caddy Charlie, who introduces him to "night golf," a way to play the course--and perfect their game--after hours. James's games of night golf pay off when one day he's asked to prove his athletic prowess to a pair of white golfers. In his hefty but well-paced text, Miller (Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree) draws a smooth parallel between the old-boys'-club world of golf and racial prejudice. James's frustration is nearly palpable as he watches others enjoy his dream game while he silently stands by, and his ultimate success will surely gratify readers. Lucas's (Frederick Douglass: The Last Day of Slavery) creamy, textured pastel-and-colored-pencil compositions shift from hazy sunshine to shadowy moonlight with ease. His portraits of James clearly convey all the boy's determination. A timeline of notable achievements by African-American golfers rounds out the uplifting story. Ages 6-up. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Carol LynchAs Tiger Woods grows increasingly popular among children, it is easy to assume that golf is a "color-free" sport. However, it has only been within the past 40 years that African Americans were permitted to play in professional golf tournaments. In Night Golf, Miller tells the story of a young boy who overcomes racial barriers so that he can realize his dream of golfing. This involves the rigorous work of caddying and facing with humiliation with dignity. The only way he manages to stick with his dream is to accept the kind guidance of an older caddy who shares the secret of "night golf." By practicing on the course in the darkness of night, James builds the skills and confidence he needs to show the other players his talent. Historical information before and after the story provide the necessary context for readers.
School Library JournalGr 1-3Based on the experiences of African Americans in the late 1950s, this book tells of a young boy who loves golf. The game comes naturally for James, but he is not allowed on the all-white courses. However, his interest in the sport soon leads him to become a caddy, and he is befriended by Charlie, another African American, who has been a caddy for some 20 years. When Charlie observes Jamess passion for the sport, he invites the boy to join him for a round of golfat night, when they can sneak onto the course. With instruction, James hones his skills and eventually gets to display them during the daytime, when he accepts a challenge from one of the club members. Large, pastel and colored-pencil illustrations of average quality are presented in frames throughout the text. While the narrative is heavy-handed at times, the story of Jamess perseverance to overcome prejudice rings true.Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsMiller and Lucas (Frederick Douglass, 1996) gracefully light up an obscure corner of sports history with this tale of a young African-American finding his way around a racial barrier. Although a rusty old club from the trash kindles James's talent and enthusiasm for golf, he is allowed onto a real course only as a caddy; then an understanding older caddy invites him to come back after the sun goes down. Painting in an impressionistic style, Lucas poses still, slightly indistinct figures at arms' length, for a sedate look that may distance viewers but is not out of keeping with the sport's nature and pace. James's experience parallels that of more than one player who went on to play at the professional level; commemorating all golfers who honed their skills by moonlight, Miller adds both a historical note and a timeline to his story. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Night Golf is about a young African American boy who discovers some old golf balls and a club in the trash. The only thing he wants to do after holding that club is to play golf on a course. Though in the 1950¿s that is easier said than done, since all the golf courses are for whites only. The only way that he plays is to sneak onto the course at night, practicing every night, playing by moonlight. He learns to feel the club and ball and really understand the game, until he becomes better and better. In the end, his dreams come true and he gets to take a swing in the daylight.
This book could be a great book across the curriculum from Language Arts to Science. It includes an Author¿s Note about historical information about African Americans and golf, and other facts. The ending of the story leaves much to the reader¿s interpretation as to how far James went in his golfing career. Children will enjoy Night Golf for its lessons of practice, hard work and perseverance. It will also be a great lesson in social intolerance to racial discrimination.