Out of Left Field

320p. glossary. Viking. May 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780425288597.
Gr 4–7—"Keep asking questions. Never settle for being ordinary." Katy Gordon is anything but ordinary. She's got a special Sunday pitch that will strike out just about anybody, but her local Little League won't let her on the team just because she's a girl. Katy sets out to change their minds; after all, it's 1957 and the world is changing. To back up her legal argument (including a phone call with an ACLU lawyer), she uncovers the history of the All-American Girls Baseball League during WWII, the Bloomer Girls teams of the 1890s, and the young women who played in the Negro Leagues throughout the 1940s and 50s. Spurred on by her intelligent and independent single mother, Katy incorporates all of these forgotten women into a school project. Whenever Katy makes a new discovery, her excitement is contagious. The 1957 setting, a particularly tumultuous year for the U.S., is incorporated seamlessly into the narrative. The narrative, though rich in details, never gets bogged down. This title also includes substantial back matter, such as a list of female ballplayers, an author's note, a glossary of baseball terms, and further recommended reading. Klages gives Katy a strong voice and helps spotlight the history of marginalized women in sports history.
VERDICT Featuring powerful female characters, this is historical fiction that doesn't drag for a second. A fine purchase.

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