cover image Out of Left Field

Out of Left Field

Ellen Klages. Viking, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-425-288597

Ten-year-old Kathleen Curie Gordon’s knuckling curveball is so good it wins her a Little League tryout—wearing her cap, Katy can pass as a boy. She makes the team but is outed by another player’s parent; it’s 1957 and league rules expressly prohibit girls. Klages interweaves Katy’s story with the current events she’s studying in fifth grade: the space race, desegregation, and the move of the Giants from New York to San Francisco, where they displace Katy’s favorite team, the minor league Seals. When Katy decides to write her history paper on women in baseball (in part to refute the league official’s claim that baseball “has always been the sole province of male athletes”), she uncovers a trove of information about female stars. Katy’s mom, a chemistry professor who has faced her own discrimination battles, is particularly well drawn, as she empowers her daughter to fight injustice. By the time she affirms, “Other people’s rules about what girls can and cannot do have never applied in this house,” whether Katy gets to play or not is somewhat less important than what she has learned about resistance. Ages 8–12. [em](May) [/em]