I noticed We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson in the June issue of American Libraries. It had won two different children's books awards. Being a big fan of both baseball and books, I had to see it. Luckily for me, when I sought the book, it had just been returned to the library and had not made it back to the new book display. Surely it would have gone back out right away.
I was impressed. Nelson is multitalented, both at storytelling and at illustration. He tells the story in the voice of an unnamed black ballplayer, often using the pronoun "we," making the story seem very personal. Within 88 pages, he tells the major stories of the league and describes the daily life of the players. There are dozens of arresting reproductions of Nelson's oil paintings depicting the ballplayers, including Josh Gibson, Satchel Page, and Cool Papa Bell. I can imagine this book doubles as both a children's storybook (older readers) and a museum catalog. The pictures would look good on a set of baseball cards.
Now I need to return it and let someone else enjoy this fine book. It would be a nice item to actually own, especially if you have young athletes in your home.
Nelson, Kadir. We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. Jump at the Sun, 2008. ISBN 9780786808328