cover image Fast Pitch

Fast Pitch

Nic Stone. Crown, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-984893-01-7

Black girl magic hits a home run in Stone’s (Clean Getaway) latest novel. Twelve-year-old Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood has been playing “base-related ball” her whole life—just like her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather before her. Now captain of the Fulton Firebirds, the first all-Black team in Georgia’s Dixie Youth Softball Association, her goal is to lead her team to the championship and send a message that “girls like us do belong on the field.” When that goal sees a setback, Shenice’s father gives her Great-Grampy JonJon’s mitt “as a reminder of what’s in you.” But the item that truly captures her attention in JonJon’s off-limits trunk is his leather journal—and his story. When Shenice meets her great-uncle Jack, JonJon’s brother, in an assisted living facility, she learns that her great-grandfather was almost one of the first Black MLB players—until he was kicked out of the league for a theft that Jack insists JonJon was framed for. Considering her family legacy, Shenice struggles to maintain her focus as captain while following Jack’s clues to clear JonJon’s name. Fast-paced and heartwarming, this story captures the essence of familial duty through a warm family dynamic and a child protagonist with genuine agency. Ages 8–12. [em](Aug.) [/em]