My Name Is America: The Journal Of Biddy Owens, Birmingham, Alabama, 1948

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9780439095037: My Name Is America: The Journal Of Biddy Owens, Birmingham, Alabama, 1948

Set in 1948, this story tells of the life and times of Biddy Owens, a young batboy for the Negro Leagues, and the hardships he and his team faced due to bigotry and racial segregation.

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From School Library Journal:

Gr 5 Up-Myers writes in the voice of the 17-year-old equipment manager for the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons baseball team. Through Biddy's journal, readers are introduced not only to the last great year of the Negro Leagues, but also to the institutional racism and blatant bigotry that existed in mid-20th-century America. The teen documents the action of the games, records the jokes and discussions that take place on the long bus rides to distant ball parks, complains about his younger sister, and writes about his hopes and desires for the future. A sometimes right fielder, he realizes that he will never be a great player and turns his dreams to attending college and becoming a journalist or sports writer. Intertwined with detailed descriptions of hits, runs, wins, and losses, Biddy describes his anger at not being served at a five-and-dime lunch counter and his yearning to stand up for his rights. Myers refers to actual players of the time: everyone talks about Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige; Willie Mays is a member of the Birmingham Black Barons; and Biddy meets Hank Aaron, who plays for the Indiana Clowns. A final section includes a fictional epilogue, a historical note, black-and-white photos, and information about the author. Direct readers who want more information to Patricia McKissack's Black Diamond: The Story of the Negro Baseball League (Scholastic, 1994).-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Gr. 5-7. In this fictional journal, part of the My Name Is America series, 17-year-old Biddy Owens tells of his year as "equipment manager, scorekeeper, errand boy, and sometimes right fielder" for the Birmingham Black Barons. The year is 1948, the last year of the Negro Leagues, and the book offers not just one boy's experiences and growth but also an appreciation of the trials and triumphs of black ballplayers, particularly in the South. Biddy's episodic story takes readers from his home, where economic troubles strain relations, to the road, where a remark like "We don't serve no nigras here" is commonplace to the ballparks of America, in which the playing field is generally level (if a little rocky). The book has two other notable aspects. First, the writing is infused with a love of baseball that is never sappy. And second, this novel clearly portrays the ongoing racial prejudice of the era without making that the focus of the story. A very readable addition to the series. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Walter Dean Myers
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