During the Second World War, many of America’s Major League baseball players served in the military. The All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League was formed in 1943 to entertain the people still at home. The league, which lasted until 1954, was also a source of income for families, as many women needed to find jobs while their husbands were away.
Many people know that the AAGPBL was featured in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, starring Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, but did you know that it has also inspired several picture books? With baseball season (my favorite time of year) in full swing, I knew it was time to share these great books about The All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League.
Mama Played Baseball (©2003) by David A. Adler
The story centers on a young girl named Amy whose father is away serving in World War II. Amy’s mother needs a job while her husband is away, so she practices day in and day out to prepare for baseball tryouts. When Amy’s mother makes the team, Amy and her grandparents sit in the stands and cheer her on. With rich illustrations that evoke the feeling of the era and a heartwarming surprise ending, this book is a winner for ages 5-9.
Players In Pigtails (©2003) by Shana Corey
This book is the fictional story of Katie Casey, the girl featured in the popular song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Katie struggles with knitting, baking, and other typical “girl” activities of the era, but she lives and breathes all things baseball. Katie represents many real girls in the 1940s who shared of love of America’s pastime. With colorful, kid-friendly illustrations – and plenty of girl power to boot – kids ages 4-8 will love this energetic tale.
Dirt on Their Skirts (©2000) by Doreen Rappaport and Lyndall Callan
This story chronicles the 1946 championship game between the Racine Belles and the Rockford Peaches. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the watercolor illustrations, the fact-based story is both educational and entertaining for ages 6-9.