Ben and Emma’s Big Hit

Philomel. Dec. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593204115.
K-Gr 2–Drawing a parallel between baseball and learning to read, this school story about dyslexia is a home run. Ben (a shaggy, blond-haired boy) is a natural at baseball but when it comes to reading, “it felt like going up against the hardest team in the league, every day.” Fortunately for Ben, and three other students of varying skin colors and ethnicities, they have a patient and empathetic reading coach in Ms. Kim. The alphabet and reading drills frustrate Ben and his emotions get the better of him but gentle intervention by Ms. Kim re-centers him so that he can rejoin the class. He learns that Emma, even though she carries around the largest books, only does so because she likes to pretend she can read them. Ben’s emotions and the constructive classroom environment are thoughtfully depicted. When the class finds that Ms. Kim likes baseball but has never been able to hit the ball, the tables are turned and Ben finds himself coaching and motivating his teacher as his classmates cheer her on. Realistic illustrations with soft colors dominated by pale blue and green, and expressive characters, depict the supportive environment and the themed connection between reading and baseball well. As the class gathers together outside, the ending sentiment to try hard every day may seem trite but fits well with the twin themes of teamwork and coaching. Newsom, governor of California, provides a note about his own journey with dyslexia.
VERDICT Learning of any kind takes perseverance and teamwork; teaming the difficult discussion of dyslexia with reader-friendly baseball will help get this book into the right hands.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing