Willie and the All-Stars by Floyd Cooper | NOOK Book (NOOK Kids eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Willie and the All-Stars

Willie and the All-Stars

by Floyd Cooper
     
 

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Willie, an African-American boy growing up in Chicago, dreams of playing baseball in the Major Leagues, like his idols. But it's 1942, and Jackie Robinson is years away from breaking the color barrier. One day Willie sits with the old men in the neighborhood as they spin tall baseball tales. Willie knows the game like the back of his hand, but he's never heard of Josh

Overview

Willie, an African-American boy growing up in Chicago, dreams of playing baseball in the Major Leagues, like his idols. But it's 1942, and Jackie Robinson is years away from breaking the color barrier. One day Willie sits with the old men in the neighborhood as they spin tall baseball tales. Willie knows the game like the back of his hand, but he's never heard of Josh Gibson or Cool Papa Bell. ?That's because they're Negro Leaguers,? says Ol? Ezra. ?Being a Major Leaguer is about a lot more than how good a fella is. It's also about the color of his skin. And yours is the wrong color.? Willie is crushed. Until, that is, Ezra hands him two tickets to an exhibition all-star game between Major Leaguers and Negro Leaguers, and Willie sees firsthand how determination can change everything.

A beautifully illustrated tribute to the power of a boy's dreams, and the great gift that is hope.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In 1942 Chicago, young Willie dreams of being a baseball player, just like the Major League Baseball stars that play in nearby Wrigley Field. But baseball is still segregated and Willie, as a neighbor points out, "is the wrong color." Willie's hopes are rekindled at an exhibition game between the Negro League All-Star team and the Major League All-Stars, when he witnesses Satchel Paige's team win the grudging respect of their white opponents. Cooper's text often lands with the heavy thunk of an after-school special, and Willie's friendship with an Irish boy seems more well-meaning than authentic, given the historical realities of the book's setting. There's far more grace in the sepia-toned oil-wash paintings, which combine photorealistic portraiture with dramatic composition. Whether he's working in closeup or conveying a ballpark buzzing with fans, Cooper (Jump! From the Life of Michael Jordan) swings for the fences, and he almost always delivers. Ages 6-8. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

In 1942, young Willie already knows that nothing comes easy, but he dreams of baseball fame. When a neighbor tells him about baseball's color line, he is crushed, feeling "all closed up inside." Then he's given tickets to an exhibition game between Negro League and Major League All-Stars at Wrigley Field. Though their uniforms and equipment are aged and tattered, the Negro Leaguers, led by Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, quickly impress the crowd with their hard-driving playing style. Willie notes that "from the first pitch," they seem "hungrier for the victory," and they eventually out muscle the Major Leaguers. The story ends on a hopeful note, with a handshake between two opposing players, symbolizing that the victory has brought "a nod of acknowledgment, if not acceptance, from White to Black." An author's note adds a thumbnail sketch of the Negro Leagues. Cooper's vibrant, nostalgic oil paintings, in hues of golden brown and earth tones, enhance this story's winsome appeal. Pair it with Carole Boston Weatherford's A Negro League Scrapbook (Boyds Mills, 2005) and Gavin Curtis's The Bat Boy and His Violin (S & S, 1998), both excellent introductions to this period for fans and casual readers alike.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews

In 1942 on Chicago's North Side, Willie, a young African-American boy, dreams of becoming a great baseball player in the Major Leagues, like Joe DiMaggio or Dizzy Dean. When he hears the old men in the street talking about Cool Papa Bell and other unfamiliar players, he learns that these stars play in the Negro Leagues and that, like them, he will not be able to play in the Major Leagues. "Son...being a Major League ballplayer is about a lot more that how good a fella is. It's also about the color of his skin. And yours is the wrong color." With this plain-speaking statement, Cooper places readers squarely in history. The gritty, realistic illustrations portray the harshness of the setting, against which the characters' emotions virtually leap off the page. A climactic showdown in Wrigley Field between Negro League and Major League All-Stars gives Willie and readers a chance to see such lights as Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson compete—and win—in an even match. Triumphant. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780698152816
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/18/2008
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
File size:
44 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

When Floyd Cooper discovered children's book illustrating, he
found a way to complement his career in advertising. An apprentice of Mark English, Mr.
Cooper began his freelance career while still a student at the University of Oklahoma.
After graduating, he made his way to Missouri, where he secured a position at a greeting
card company.



Although Mr. Cooper was established in his position there, he felt somewhat stifled.
He lacked the freedom and opportunity for spontaneity that he longed for as an artist and
the joy that could be found in doing something that he loved.



Determined to break out of the mundane cycle he found himself in, Mr. Cooper
relocated to the East Coast in 1984 to pursue his career further. It was there that he
discovered the world of children's book illustrating and was amazed by the opportunities
for creativity it afforded. Mr. Cooper was energized. The first book he illustrated,
Grandpa's Face, captivated reviewers. Publishers Weekly said of
newcomer Floyd Cooper's work, "Cooper, in his first picture book, creates family scenes
of extraordinary illumination. He reinforces in the pictures the feelings of warmth and
affection that exist between generations."



Illustrating children's books is very important to Mr. Cooper. He says, "I feel
children are at the frontline in improving society. This might sound a little heavy, but it's
true. I feel children's picture books play a role in counteracting all the violence and other
negative images conveyed in the media."



Floyd Cooper resides in New Jersey with his wife, Velma, and their two sons.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

When Floyd Cooper discovered children's book illustrating, he
found a way to complement his career in advertising. An apprentice of Mark English, Mr.
Cooper began his freelance career while still a student at the University of Oklahoma.
After graduating, he made his way to Missouri, where he secured a position at a greeting
card company.



Although Mr. Cooper was established in his position there, he felt somewhat stifled.
He lacked the freedom and opportunity for spontaneity that he longed for as an artist and
the joy that could be found in doing something that he loved.



Determined to break out of the mundane cycle he found himself in, Mr. Cooper
relocated to the East Coast in 1984 to pursue his career further. It was there that he
discovered the world of children's book illustrating and was amazed by the opportunities
for creativity it afforded. Mr. Cooper was energized. The first book he illustrated,
Grandpa's Face, captivated reviewers. Publishers Weekly said of
newcomer Floyd Cooper's work, "Cooper, in his first picture book, creates family scenes
of extraordinary illumination. He reinforces in the pictures the feelings of warmth and
affection that exist between generations."



Illustrating children's books is very important to Mr. Cooper. He says, "I feel
children are at the frontline in improving society. This might sound a little heavy, but it's
true. I feel children's picture books play a role in counteracting all the violence and other
negative images conveyed in the media."



Floyd Cooper resides in New Jersey with his wife, Velma, and their two sons.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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