Girl Wonder: A Baseball Story in Nine Innings

by Deborah Hopkinson and Terry Widener

“I must have been born to play baseball,” says the young narrator of... read more

“I must have been born to play baseball,” says the young narrator of this story based on the life of Alta Weiss, a young woman who grew up early in the twentieth century and pitched ball for a semi-pro team in Ohio at the age of 17. In a friendly, folksy narrative, Alta’s passion and enthusiasm for pitching and her love of the game from the time she was a small child shine. When she approaches the coach of the Vermilion Independents and asks for a chance to play, “the Independents’ crusty old coach took one look at my long, blue skirt, [and] he spit hard on the ground. 'Go home, missy. You’re a girl—and this is baseball.’” But Alta doesn’t give up. Convincing the coach to give her a chance, she becomes a wild success—not only winning games, but drawing in crowds. It isn’t the only time in her life that Alta would break down barriers, as the narrator briefly describes going on to attend medical school, where she is the only girl in her class. There is a photograph of the real Alta Weiss on the back cover of this winning picture book. She is posed to release the ball, with a look of serious intent that makes it clear there is little that can stand in this young woman’s way. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

show less