cover image A Long Pitch Home

A Long Pitch Home

Natalie Dias Lorenzi. Charlesbridge, $16.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58089-713-6

Bilal’s world is turned upside town when his father disappears for three days from their home in Karachi, Pakistan. After his father returns just as unexpectedly, Bilal, his mother, and his two siblings leave almost immediately for America to live with his uncle’s family. Bilal slowly learns that his father has been accused of a crime he didn’t commit and must clear his name before he can join them. Although Bilal’s extended family in Virginia is welcoming, the 10-year-old longs for his father and life back home. Lorenzi (Flying the Dragon) uses Bilal’s candid first-person perspective to bring readers into his struggles, including trading his favorite sport—cricket—for baseball. It’s through baseball that Bilal befriends Jordan, a girl who also misses her father, a soldier in Afghanistan. Filled with details about Pakistani and Muslim life (Bilal is shocked by the swimming attire at the local pool: “Aren’t the adults embarrassed to be half-naked in front of everyone?”), Lorenzi’s novel offers a sensitive look at the cultural merging that accompanies immigration. Ages 9–12. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. (Sept.)