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By Bill Wise
Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth
On a Maine summer day in 1884, twelve-year-old Penobscot Indian Louis Sockalexis first fell in love with baseball. As he grew up, Louis honed his skills and dreamed of one day joining a major league team.
Louis encountered opposition at every turn—from the jeers of teammates and the taunts of spectators who thought he had no place in a "white man's sport" to the disapproval of his father, who wanted Louis to focus on tribal life. Louis finally made it to the major league Cleveland Spiders, but racism followed him, until one momentous day in June 1897 at New York's Polo Grounds. Facing off against the most feared pitcher in baseball, Louis proved he belonged in the sport.
Here is the inspiring story of a boy who dared to make his dream a reality. With determination, courage, and quiet dignity, Louis Sockalexis smashed racial barriers and home runs, leaving an indelible mark on America's favorite sport.
Booktalk with creators Bill Wise and Bill Farnsworth
Painting Demonstration with Illustrator Bill Farnsworth
Original Art Show
Society of Illustrators
Children's Books of the Year
Bank Street College Children's Book Committee
Carter G. Woodson Book Award
National Council for the Social Studies
Children's Book Award
International Reading Association
Myers Outstanding Book Award
Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America
- Interest Level
- Grades 1 - 5
- Reading Level
- Grades 2 - 4
- Biography, Family Traditions, Native American Interest, Sports, Nonfiction, Sports History
Bill Wise is the author of Lee & Low’s Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer, winner of the Carter G. Woodson Book Award and the Children’s Book Award from the International Reading Association. An avid baseball fan, Wise first heard about William Hoy when he was a child. Years later, after further research, Wise was inspired to bring Hoy’s remarkable story to young readers in Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy. In addition to writing books, Wise teaches eighth-grade math and language arts. He and his family live in Gorham, Maine.
Bill Farnsworth is the illustrator of more than fifty children's books. His work has received numerous awards and honors, including Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, and selection for the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show. Farnsworth's warmly-lit oil paintings gracefully illuminate the Maine landscape and Sockalexis's days on the baseball diamond. Farnsworth lives with his family in Venice, Florida. Visit him online at billfarnsworth.com