Twelve-year-old Charlie Nebraska wants two things he can’t get: to make the local baseball team and to have life to return to the way it was before his father died two years earlier in the Korean War.
When Charlie meets Luther Peale, a stranger who quietly and mysteriously arrives in Charlie’s small Iowa town, and sets up camp near the river, the two strike up a friendship. Luther is a former Negro Baseball League player, and he agrees to coach Charlie’s fledgling neighborhood baseball team.
But many of the town’s white residents are suspicious of Luther because of his skin color. And when Charlie inadvertently reveals a secret of Luther’s, violence erupts in the town and both Luther and Charlie are drawn into serious danger.
Authors Carol Gorman and Ron J. Findley have created two highly memorable, emotionally complex characters in this dramatic story set in the days of the Negro Leagues that illustrates the meanings of friendship, prejudice, and heroism.
“Themes of honesty, loyalty, and heroism are imbedded in this powerful, fast-paced story… Readers will enjoy this winning mix of sports, suspense, and heroism, and delight in the baseball wit and wisdom.” ―School Library Journal
“Authors Gorman and Findley do an excellent job of bringing to life the main characters in this tension-filled story, where relationships are strained and heroism is revealed in the most surprising ways.” ―Good News Toronto
“[Gorman and Findley’s] poignant story gently teaches, but never preaches, lessons on friendship and acceptance. Young readers will discover how prejudice can destroy individuals and communities while honesty and heroism create true strength and enduring bonds.” ―The Des-Moines Register
AR Level: 3.7
F&P: W, Gr 6, Genre HF
Themes: Baseball, Community, Friendship, Racism
BISAC 1: JUV039120: Juvenile Fiction / Issues / Prejudice & Racism
BISAC 2: JUV032010: Juvenile Fiction / Baseball & Softball
BISAC 3: JUV005000: Juvenile Fiction / Boys & Men