Satchel Paige: Striking out Jim Crow

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow
By James Sturm & Rich Tommaso
Ages 12+
Jump at the Sun
$16.99 hc/$9.99 pbk

This story is told from the point of view of amateur baseball player, Emmett Wilson, who is struck out (and injured) by Satchel Paige and forced to go back home to work as a sharecropper. We learn more about what life was like in the South between the years 1929 and 1944 than we do about Satchel Paige himself. This story isn’t meant to be about when Satchel Paige was born, or what his childhood was like, but rather this story talks about the man behind the ball: His pompous attitude and smug self-assurance in contrast to the time and place he lived in: Jim Crow South. When the reader finishes reading this book and gets a sense of the world Satchel Paige lived in, they’ll be left wondering where he found the courage to be those things.

Young readers will be drawn into the carefully detailed and action-packed baseball scenes, as when Satchel Paige raises his leg up and draws his hand back to throw a pitch. The panels are very carefully laid out in a traditional format, but the occasional use of a one-page or even two-page spread emphasizes the relationship between text and words just perfectly. The artist chose to only use three colors throughout the book: black, white, and a sepia tone which puts the artwork over the top.

Young readers may not pick this one up on their own, but hopefully adults will help them gravitate towards this very worthy title.

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