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.
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!