Stosh has the unique ability to travel through time using only a baseball card. He holds a card from the year he wants to visit, and suddenly he is there. In Roberto & Me, Stosh travels to 1969 to meet baseball star and humanitarian Roberto Clemente. His goal is to warn Roberto not to take the tragic plane flight that cut his life so short. However, Stosh soon learns changing the future is more difficult than he expected.
This book and the other baseball card adventure books are great for young sports enthusiasts. They include baseball facts, but also a glimpse of life in different time periods. The stories are written with enough variety and conflict that even non-baseball lovers can enjoy them. Roberto & Me was a success with my ten-year-old daughter who has never watched a game of baseball in her life.
Recommended for ages 8-12
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes is a profound story about loyalty and adversity. With his experience as a family therapist, Chris Crutcher knows and reveals the ugliness of cruelty, prejudice, and human suffering. He writes about issues like child abuse, abortion, depression and suicide with raw honesty. However, his books also show the beauty of personal strength, true compassion, and loyal friendship. His stories aren’t for readers who want a fairy tale version of the world, but his reality shows the victory of people helping each other through inevitable hard times.
Sarah Byrnes and Eric Calhoune have been friends since junior high. Their friendship began because Sarah’s scars and Eric’s fat made them outcasts and allies. Eric relied on Sarah Byrnes’s tough disregard for public opinion or authority. But when Sarah Byrnes ends up in the Sacred Heart psychiatric ward, it is up to Eric to save her from herself and others. This novel is uplifting, but deals with hard issues. I recommend it for older teenagers, mature enough to understand hard life lessons.
Michael Arroyo’s first love in life is baseball and his Little League Team is cruising through the playoffs. However, when some rival coaches become jealous of Arroyo’s talent, their complaining draws unwanted attention. They demand proof of Arroyo’s age, but his lack of birth certificate hides an even bigger problem.
Four months previously, Michael’s father died of a heart attack. Desperate to keep his boys together, Victor Arroyo insisted his death be kept a secret. Now Michael and his older brother are fighting to stay together and out of the sight of social services. Mike Lupica writes about the glory of baseball, but also about the struggle of immigrants in a new country. His writing is perfect for sports-loving teenagers, but includes some deeper questions about life.