Goodbye, Mr. Spalding

Goodbye, Mr. Spalding

by Jennifer Robin Barr


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Set in Philadelphia during the Great Depression, this middle-grade historical novel tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy and his best friend as they attempt to stop a wall from being built at Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics, that would block the view of the baseball field from their rooftops.

In 1930s Philadelphia, twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola live across the street from Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. Their families and others on the street make extra money by selling tickets to bleachers on their flat rooftops, which have a perfect view of the field. However, falling ticket sales at the park prompt the manager and park owner to decide to build a wall that will block the view. Jimmy and Lola come up with a variety of ways to prevent the wall from being built, knowing that not only will they miss the view, but their families will be impacted from the loss of income. As Jimmy becomes more and more desperate to save their view, his dubious plans create a rift between him and Lola, and he must work to repair their friendship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684371785
Publisher: Highlights
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 541,661
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Jennifer Robin Barr is the author of two how-to books for adults. Goodbye, Mr. Spalding is her debut middle-grade novel. She is drawn to writing about little-known nuggets of history. She lives in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Visit her at

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Goodbye, Mr. Spalding 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous 4 months ago
If you had no idea that during the Great Depression, hundreds of avid baseball fans packed nearby rooftops for a clear view of the games at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, this middle grade debut will put you right there on those rickety stands. Barr's novel takes off from a real historical premise: the owners of Shibe Park, fed up with low ticket sales, decide to build a wall to block the free view--a plan that sets the neighborhood in turmoil. This funny, heartfelt story follows 12-year-old Jimmy and his best friend Lola as they plot to foil plans to build the wall. Jimmy's ideas are increasingly dangerous and dishonest; Lola is the voice of conscience; and their schemes are finally shattered when a snowball goes astray. Jimmy and Lola are plucky and lovable, the historical details (and sports trivia) are fascinating and deftly drawn, particularly how close to the knife-edge of hunger and homelessness so many families were in early '30s Philadelphia. A great book to share with any kid who loves a good sports-themed adventure where the little guy takes on the rich and powerful, and (mostly) triumphs; and a fantastic introduction to the Great Depression for elementary school classrooms. I LOVED the author's note (and vintage photos) at the end.