Posts tagged book review
Say 'Ahoy' to William Hoy!
say ahoy
William never got much taller than five-foot-five. He couldn’t do anything about that. But maybe they’d give him another chance if he aimed better and ran faster.”
— The William Hoy Story, Nancy Churnin

As most of you know, one of my favorite fellow children's book authors is Nancy Churnin. She tells the tales of magnificent, gifted heroes whose names have been forgotten over time. One of her most notable books is The William Hoy Story which is a book about perseverance and courage.

Her books almost portray historical stories that is beautifully executed so children ages 3-9 can understand and enjoy. Nancy's books focus heavily on diversity and giving characters with marginalized backgrounds a place to shine. This book The William Hoy Story was illustrated by Jez Tuya who transported me back to the 1880's when William Hoy was becoming a Major League Star. The illustrations are a wonderful combination of hand drawn illustration and digital imagery. 

You can get your own copy of The William Hoy Story on Amazon and from the Albert Whitman & Company.

Book Summary

Hoy, was a deaf baseball player who aspired to play in the majors. He practiced his aim on his farm by making targets for himself and using rubber balls to hit them. His parents communicated to him with American Sign Language. His loving mother supported his aspirations while his father scolded him for being unrealistic. He had to practice hard because he was extremely short for a ball player. His skills caught the attention of people in the neighborhood who were not able to communicate with him because of his inability to speak.

When he was finally able to play, he proved he could not only throw well, he could hit well too! He finally earned an opportunity to play for a team and his lack of speech limited him from getting paid equal to what the other players made which did not sit well with him. On other teams, his teammates would gossip and speak badly about him. Pitchers would even play pranks on him in front of the audience. 

He had a brilliant idea to teach the umpire signs for commonly used baseball terms like 'strike' and 'out'. Soon, players used signs often to signal phrases discretely on the field. The happiest day of his life was the day the crowd signed a silent applause to him. It showed William that he had changed the game of baseball forever!

Follow children's book author Nancy Churnin on Facebook and Twitter

Charlie Takes His Shot is a HIT!
Within a year, Jackie’s teammates and fans of every race cheered for him. Could Charlie do the same for golf?
— Nancy Churnin, Charlie Takes His Shot

Nancy Churnin is a fabulous children's book author who has taken the world of literary non-fiction by storm! Her dynamic children's books are filled with the greatest historical figures that have been lost in American history. These were not the heroes that wore capes, but the ones that broke down cultural and barriers for people of color and those who were considered different.

Nancy knew she had a HIT when she wrote Charlie Takes His Shot. Her historical research into the life of this character showed, and allowed this story to feel authentic and true. The text was perfectly arranged so that the font and the story was together on one page without clashing with one another. The storyline was well-paced so it was exciting, but read it fluidly, which is very important to keep the attention of new readers and young listeners. I would highly recommend this book to parents and educators who are looking for dynamic and diverse books. It is perfectly suited for ages 3-9 years old.

Charlie Takes His Shot absolutely blew me away! The illustrations by John Joven are wonderful, picturesque, and packed with deep color values. John Joven's strong depiction of the scenery highlighted the atmosphere that the character would have been surrounded by.

You can get your own copy of Charlie Takes His Shot on Amazon and from the Albert Whitman & Company.

Book Summary

Charlie Sifford was a young man with humungous dreams who grew up in a time and place where only whites were allowed to golf, much less be a part of a professional golf associations! Charlie learned from the sidelines by being a caddie for the golfers while he patiently waited for his turn to play. He dominated tournaments between other black players, but he still eagerly wanted to play professionally.

When Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the Major League of Baseball to become a star, he inspired all black athletes of that era. If Jackie could succeed and win support in his sport, why couldn't he? Charlie seized an opportunity to talk to his idol, Jackie Robinson in 1948. Jackie warned him about the trouble he would face, but Charlie didn't back down from the challenge. 

Charlie traveled the world as a professional golfer and was eventually compensated for his efforts. In 1957, he won the The National Negro Open. Times were changing and other black athletes were pounding down the barrier that barred blacks from professional organizations like the MLB and NBA. Years later, Charlie Sifford earned his right to play in the PGA as the first black player ever admitted.

He dealt with fierce discrimination from hotels, players, and even tournament attendees. Eventually, he won the PGA tour in front of all the people who both supported and hated him. He thrusted open the door for all of the famous black golfers who were able to join the PGA after him like Calvin Peete, Harold Varner III, and of course, Tiger Woods.

Follow children's book author Nancy Churnin on Facebook and Twitter