Book Review – She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story by Audrey Vernick

You can almost smell the sweet and salty stadium fare and hear the echoing roar of the crowd when you read She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story.

But this picture book is so much more than just a baseball story.

It is the true story of a pioneer.

As a child, Effa couldn’t understand racial prejudice. She had light skin, like her mother. Her siblings were dark, like their father. It never made sense to Effa when she and her siblings were treated differently. She didn’t accept the line: “that’s just the way things are.” She fought against injustice and helped to change the world.

In the 1930s, Effa Manley helped convince the owner of a Harlem department store to hire black workers. As a co-owner and manager of the Negro League’s Newark Eagles, she was a groundbreaking maverick-flying in the face of the conventional thinking that baseball was no place for a woman.

She stood up to Branch Rickey in the 1940s by successfully fighting for fair terms when major league owners started to raid Negro League teams, helping themselves to all the best players. And in her later years, Effa lobbied the Baseball Hall of Fame to honor Negro League players. In return, Effa Manley was honored herself, by being the first-and only-woman ever inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

As School Library Journal wrote, “author Audrey Vernick blends social history and biography to tell the story of a remarkable woman who dreamed big and left an indelible markon the sport.”

SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY

Illustrated by Don Tate

Collins (HarperCollins) October 2010

Picture book, ages 5-10

32 pages

$16.99 suggested retail

To see the book’s trailer: http://audreyvernick.com/sheloved.html

For more information about Audrey and her books, visit her website, www.audreyvernick.com.

Link to HarperCollins: http://www.harpercollinscatalogs.com/harper/503_1595_313533333935.htm

“Both author and illustrator are on top of their games.” – School Library Journal (starred review)

“Energetic…fresh and engaging.” – Publishers Weekly

“Readers will cheer.” – Kirkus

Bio: Audrey Vernick is an avid baseball fan, currently in mourning for the 2010 season and looking forward to spring training in 2011. Hers is a mixed family-two Yankees fans and two Phillies fans.

A two-time recipient of the New Jersey Arts Council’s fellowship in fiction, she is the author of IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN? (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins) and its forthcoming sequel, TEACH YOUR BUFFALO TO PLAY DRUMS (ages 3-6).

Audrey is also the author of another nonfiction baseball picture book, BROTHERS AT BAT: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING ALL-BROTHER TEAM (Clarion), which will be published in March 2012.

One of the highlights of her writing career was visiting the A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. There she donned the white cotton gloves of an archivist and thumbed through all the files related to Effa Manley, including Effa’s own personal scrapbook.

Audrey Vernick lives near the ocean with her husband, son and daughter.

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