We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
Nelson, Kadir. We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro League Baseball. Disney Press, 2008. 96 pages. Tr. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-7868-0832-8.
Nelson, Kadir. We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro League Baseball. Narrated by Dion Graham. Brilliance Audio, 2009. CD, 120 minutes. $19.99 ISBN 978-1-4233-7536-4.
Annotation: The history, life style, challenges, discrimination, and popularity of Negro League Baseball from the 1920’s until 1947 is explored through text and paintings.
Summary: This is a fitting tribute to Negro League Baseball. It describes the beginning and history of the leagues, the players, the style of play and the league’s ultimate collapse when Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. An elderly fictional baseball player gives an insider account of what is was like to experience segregated baseball. Since blacks were banned from playing in the major leagues, Rube Foster organized the Leagues and offered African Americans the chance to earn a living playing baseball. The accounts of great players like Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige are detailed. The impact of racism is discussed as well as how the League ultimately enabled black players to be given the chance to play in the major leagues.
Evaluation: This history book reads like a compelling story. Nine chapters (or innings) are chronologically presented with beautifully vivid muscular oil paintings spread throughout. The conservational text and the larger-than-life illustrations complement each other. The history of the Negro leagues and the discrimination that the players endured are brought to life. Recommended for ages 6 to 16.
Genre / Subject: Juvenile Non-Fiction, Sports, Baseball, African Americans, History, Racism, Discrimination
Awards: 2009 Coretta Scott King Award Winner – Author, 2009 Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book – Illustrator, Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award Winner- Children’s Book, 2009 ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2010 Odyssey Honor Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production, 2010 ALA Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults Award