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by Linda Sue Park


School Library Journal:

Gr 4–6— In 1951, Maggie, nine, and her older brother, Joey-Mick, are dedicated baseball fans though their beloved Brooklyn Dodgers always disappoint them at season’s end. Maggie enjoys listening to the games with the firefighters in her neighborhood station; her dad worked there before an injury forced him to accept a desk job. When a new firefighter, Jim, joins the crew, he teaches Maggie how to keep score and she comes to share his admiration for Giants’ great Willie Mays. Then Jim is drafted and sent to Korea. They write to one another until his letters abruptly stop. Maggie, frustrated and worried, tries to understand the conflict by researching it at her local library and even drawing her own maps tracing the war’s progress on the Korean  peninsula. Eventually, she learns that Jim suffered traumatic shock after a horrific battle and has been sent home with a medical discharge. Park paints a vividly detailed account of life in 1950s Brooklyn. Maggie’s perspective is authentically childlike and engaging, and her relations with her family and friends ring true. Jim’s tragic experience raises difficult, troubling questions for Maggie, but her grief eventually brings her to the conclusion that “hope is what gets everything started.” Baseball fans will savor her first visit to Ebbets Fields, but this finely crafted novel should resonate with a wide audience of readers..—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA –Marilyn Taniguchi (Reviewed March 1, 2008) (School Library Journal, vol 54, issue 3, p208)


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4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, Ages 9-12, Friendship, Korean War