Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

288p. Lee & Low/Tu Bks. May 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781600602610.
Gr 3–5—All fifth grader Maria Singh can think about is playing baseball. She confronts many challenges in pursuit of this dream, from convincing her father to let her wear shorts to getting the city council to approve a baseball field for her neighborhood. Maria is part of a community of families in World War II—era California. Many of the fathers in this community emigrated from India and married Mexican American women. Maria begins to see how much the institutionalized racism and individual prejudice they face weigh on her parents. Characters are well developed, and relationships are richly complex. Even the local mean girl becomes sympathetic as Maria learns that she and her family are being discriminated against because of their German ancestry. Krishnaswami skillfully handles issues of racism and sexism in a realistic and age-appropriate way. Although the cultural setting is very well defined, sometimes the historical background information can feel wedged into the story. However, this is a minor flaw, and Maria's realistic challenges and passion to play ball will keep young readers engaged.
VERDICT This historical sports story will appeal to many elementary-aged students and provides a rich basis for a discussion of prejudice and the importance of standing up for one's beliefs. Recommended.

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