Reviewed by: Debbie Reese
Review Source: American Indians in Children’s Literature
Book Author: Traci Sorell
A few years ago, I would do tweet reviews and sometimes, I’d use a platform (Storify) that would gather the tweets into a single document, and then I’d plop that document in a blog post. People liked that tweet-review-turned-into-blog-post a lot. But Storify didn’t last long. I still use Twitter to talk about books. Today I did a series of tweets about Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series. I’m pasting them here as my review of the book. Continue reading on American Indians in Children’s Literature.
Contenders by Traci Sorell
Published by Penguin on April 11, 2023
Genres: American Indians First Nations Metis Inuit, Biography and Autobiography, Sports
Reading Level: Grade K, Grades 1-2
Review Source: American Indians in Children's Literature
Also by this author: We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, Indian No More, At the Mountain's Base
Publisher's Synopsis: The true story of John Meyers and Charles Bender, who in 1911 became the first two Native pro baseball players to face off in a World Series. This picture book teaches important lessons about resilience, doing what you love in the face of injustice, and the fight for Native American representation in sports.
Charles Bender grew up on the White Earth Reservation in Northwestern Minnesota. John Meyers was raised on the Cahuilla reservation in Southern California. Despite their mutual respect for each other's talents and their shared dedication to Native representation in baseball, the media was determined to pit them against each other.
However, they never gave up on their dreams of being pro baseball players and didn’t let the supposed rivalry created by the media or the racism they faced within the stadium stop them. They continued to break barriers and went on to play a combined total of nine championships.
With text by Traci Sorell and illustrations by Arigon Starr that brings these two players to life, the stories of John Meyers and Charles Bender remain an inspiration for achieving and maintaining one’s dreams in the face of prejudice.
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