Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934

Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934

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by Charles R. Smith Jr., Frank Morrison
     
 

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Meet Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and other baseball heroes in this unique radio broadcast reenactment of a legendary All-Star Game, marking a pivotal time in sports history.

1934, Chicago. Come step back in time to witness the best of the best Negro League players take each other on in one of the most fascinating All-Star ballgames in AmericanSee more details below

Overview

Meet Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and other baseball heroes in this unique radio broadcast reenactment of a legendary All-Star Game, marking a pivotal time in sports history.

1934, Chicago. Come step back in time to witness the best of the best Negro League players take each other on in one of the most fascinating All-Star ballgames in American history.

Using a unique radio broadcast transcript, Coretta Scott King Award Winner Charles R. Smith, Jr. has recreated this momentous event with a lively play-by-play retelling of the second annual Negro League East-West Game. Meet legendary players like Satchel Paige, Turkey Stearness, and Cool Pappa Bell, hang in the stands with the fans, and experience this exhilarating untold, true story—with a lyrical twist.

Stars in the Shadows is a must-have for any baseball aficionado or anyone interested in forgotten history. Beautifully packaged and with incredible black-and-white illustrations by Frank Morrison, this is a rare and extraordinary book.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Smith uses a fictional radio sports announcer to introduce the players on both Negro League East-West Classic teams in this beginning chapter book. The story takes place during a time when baseball was segregated and fans voted for their favorite players to make the All-Star roster. Within a basic organization plan of nine innings, or chapters, the author writes in a poetic narrative style, using rhyming couplets that sound awkward at times. The poetry is interrupted by sections of prose whenever a fictional fan provides details about a favorite player, such as Oscar Charleston or Josh Gibson. In addition, to add atmosphere and mood, the poetry is separated by occasional radio commercials for a grocery or a barbershop, which was typical of broadcasts at that time. The large, appealing graphite artwork crosses the gutter on dramatic spreads. Fans of baseball history will be encouraged to look for further information on these players, who are merely highlighted within the text. This slender volume can augment African American history units and sports collections everywhere.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Publishers Weekly
Writing in snappy rhymed couplets, Smith delivers a play-by-play, inning-by-inning account of the second annual East-West Classic, held in Chicago in 1934, an all-star face-off between the best players from the Negro League. Smith provides a remarkable amount of detail about the game while keeping the action moving and his rhymes tight: “The pitcher kicks up a leg and then lets fly/ strike one down the pip, a fastball letter-high.” Diversions from the game come in the form of extended commentary from fans in attendance, as well as commercial breaks (“If your tongue has a taste/ for food from the South,/ Sweet Amelia’s Soul Cuisine/ has treats for your mouth”). Working in graphite, Morrison contributes full-bleed and spot illustrations of dynamic, athletic players in motion. Ages 8–12. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
“Baseball fans will feel they are at the ballpark when they read this account of the second annual Negro Leagues’ East-West game. The illustrations bring to mind the past and an Author’s Note explains the origin of the game. Fan favorites included Cool Papa Bell, Jimmie Crutchfeld, Oscar Charleston, Stachel Paige, Turkey Stearnes, and Mule Suttles. This book would be a wonderful read-aloud, as students will get the feel of the broadcast even more.”—Library Media Connection

“Writing in snappy rhymed couplets, Smith delivers a play-by-play, inning-by-inning account of the second annual East-West Classic, held in Chicago in 1934, an all-star face-off between the best players from the Negro League. Working in graphite, Morrison contributes full-bleed and spot illustrations of dynamic, athletic players in motion.”—Publishers Weekly

Use this book as an exciting complement to Kadir Nelson’s We Are the Ship.”—Booklist

Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Author Charles R. Smith Jr. and illustrator Frank Morrison team up to tell the dramatic story of the Negro League All-Star Game of 1934 in Chicago. Their action-packed staging depicts the giants of black baseball as they bat, steal bases and make amazing catches, but it also captures the tenor of the times, with the announcer, fans and even a barber in a nearby shop ruminating in short asides on the segregated game and unjust Jim Crow laws. This is historical fiction sure to hook the sports minded, with its patter, personalities, stats and close calls, and with Morrison's dynamic graphite pictures of fiercely focused, quick-moving players. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
Kirkus Reviews
Some of the best-ever baseball players face off in 1934 at the second annual Negro League All-Star game in Chicago. In an era when major league baseball meant white players only, many of the best players played for the Negro Leagues and never got the chance to compete in a larger arena. Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Willie Wells, Satchel Paige and Oscar Charleston are legendary names despite the segregation that kept them from competing in one integrated league for their entire careers. The concept behind this slim volume is excellent--a story in poems told in nine innings, each inning properly divided into the top of the inning and bottom. Graphite illustrations lend an old-timey feel to the text, and various advertisements, fan comments and even a performance by the Jubilee Singers complete the event. The variety of things happening on and off the field offers both frequent changes of pace within the text and a sense of what attending a real game is like. Unfortunately, the text itself presents quite a reading challenge. Long poetic lines, the rhymes occasionally forced, may trip up young readers, where leaner, more muscular lines would have better served the energy of the game being described. Still, what baseball fan won't thrill at this game that included the likes of the Brown Bomber, Willie "the Devil" Wells and the Tan Cheetah? (Historical fiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442450769
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
01/03/2012
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
1,094,285
File size:
21 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt



August 26, 1934

Welcome to Chicago, welcome all!
It’s a beautiful day to play baseball.
Bright sun with not one single cloud in the sky,
a blue-curtain backdrop to watch baseballs fly.
Hello, everybody, to you from me,
Lester Roberts, on your radio on WNLB,
bringing you the play-by-play in a creative way
of the second annual Negro League East-West game
today.

Last year’s game was fun-filled with eighteen runs,

including a cannon shot that came from

the bat of Mule Suttles, who swung his barrel chest

and arms to launch a four-bag express

into center-field stands, sending slug-happy fans

into a frenzy, making sepia hands

clap and cheer and throw hats into the air,

a heart-stopping moment for all who were there.

But that was last year—now it’s on to

the Negro League East-West Classic number two,

featuring players voted in by you,

the fans who follow this game through and through.

But before our game starts and before we do

anything,

first we will hear “Lift Every Voice and Sing,”

the Negro National Anthem, sung by the Jubilee

Singers, representing our wonderful Windy City.

What better way to start this glorious day,

so let’s listen in as they take it away.

Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark

past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the

present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

Thank you, performers, and again welcome all.

Enjoy the show, folks,

now let’s

PLAY

BALL!

© 2012 Charles R. Smith Jr.

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