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You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!
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You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  111 ratings  ·  36 reviews
He hit 660 home runs (fourth best of all time), had a lifetime batting average of .302, and is second only to Babe Ruth on The Sporting News's list of "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players." Many believe him to be the best baseball player that ever lived. His name is Willie Mays. In Jonah Winter and Terry Widener's fascinating picture book biography, young readers can follow Ma ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Schwartz & Wade
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Alex Baugh
Once, when I was young, I met Willie Mays. At the time, I had no idea who he was. But it didn't take my dad long to explain to me the significance of this great baseball player in the world of sports.

As a boy, Willie always wanted to play baseball just like his hero, the legendary Joe DiMaggio. He practiced hard and became really good at what he did. The only problem was that major league baseball was a white man's game AND Willie lived in the south where Jim Crow laws were still in effect, bot
...more
babyhippoface
Well, of course I've heard of Willie Mays. I just didn't really know much about him. Now I do. Thank you, Jonah Winter.

Did you know Willie Mays' father played in the Negro leagues? He did, and he coached Willie early. By the time Willie was 15, he was playing with his dad on the same semi-pro team. How crazy is that? In 1951 Mays signed with the New York Giants, and he was an instant success. On his first at bat at the Polo Grounds, he slammed a home run out of left field.

Drafted by the army in
...more
Diane
"He was the kid who in 1946, at only fifteen years old, got asked to play pro ball in the Negro Leagues with grown men."

"This kid was supposed to be ... the next Babe Ruth, the next Ty Cobb, and yup, even the next Joe DiMaggio, all rolled into one!"

In a very colloquial form of writing, the author tells the amazing story of Willie Mays: from his childhood learning baseball from his dad to his days in the Negro Leagues until he became centerfield for the Giants. His passion for the game and his wo
...more
Danielle Scharen
Biography

This was a great read to keep a student interested in learning about Willie Mays, as well as understanding what a biography is. I chose this book because I want to always remember that there are all different types of students with different interests. I realize that it may be difficult to get some students to read a certain genre, or even in general, if they do not read something that sparks their interest, so I hoped that this book would do so. As I judged this book by its hologram co
...more
Allison
Unique writing style. Second person using free indirect discourse. English teachers will most likely hate the language and grammar.
Richie Partington
Richie's Picks: YOU NEVER HEARD OF WILLIE MAYS?! by Jonah Winter and Terry Widener, ill., Schwartz & Wade, February 2013, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-375-86844-3

Hey! I'm an old guy. Count me as one who heard all about Willie Mays back before the current President was even born.

What a fun book this is!

"Birmingham, Alabama. 1941. A kid with his ear glued to the radio.
"'We interrupt this program for an important announcement. Joe DiMaggio has just homered off Red Sox pitcher Dick Newsome, extending his
...more
Laura Salas
I’m not a baseball fan. I just don’t care much about it. And while I’ve definitely heard of Willie Mays, I didn’t know much about him. But I met cool illustrator Terry Widener last year in Texas, and I saw great reviews for this book, so I had to check it out.

The lenticular cover bringing Mays’ swing to life is a fun start to a really good book. Of course, it gives lots of info about Willie Mays, but the story illuminates a lot about American history, racial prejudice, and civil rights. And it d
...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
This book tells the story about how young Willie wanted to be “the next Joe DiMaggio” and practiced VERY hard. When he was growing up, African-Americans were treated unfairly and weren’t allowed to play in the National League. They had to play in the Negro League. The thing is, a lot of the Negro League teams were better than the National League teams, but the African-American players weren’t allowed to play. Willie started to play in the Negro Leagues at age 15 with the adults until “the major ...more
Kimberly Walton Mayden


This biography about the “Say Hey Kid” which was released at the beginning of this year, will delight baseball fans young and old. Written by Jonah Winter, the author does an exceptional job of using colorful narrative in this nonfiction children’s book. The story follows Willie Mays from his childhood in Brimingham, to his career in the Negro Leagues and his fame as a center fielder for the New York Giants. His record-setting history as a baseball player is brilliantly retold and illustrated in
...more
Alix
Guite good - but could have been a bit better.

I liked that they did a book on Willie Mays. Enough already about Jackie Robinson! There were some nice little sidebars with statistics or information to illuminate the story, but not too many. There was some good extra information at the end as well. Illustrations were excellent. The story was well written, overall, and told the story of Mays from childhood through his time with the New York Giants, when he made his famous catch. It showed how hard
...more
Sam
Aside from taking in a game on a beautiful afternoon, there's nothing that diehard baseball fans (a group of which I count myself a proud member) love more than making lists -- and there's no list more fun to make than that of the greatest players of all time. However, there's only a handful of names one can make a reasonable case for putting at the top of that list: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner for sure, and maybe Ted Williams, Oscar Charleston, Mickey Mantle, and (depending on how you feel ...more
Jennifer
Winter's text is fantastic - full of information, but also full of excitement and very readable. Winter uses the voice of a fan who's thrilled to share with the uninformed reader all the details of Mays' remarkable career. Terry Widener illustrates in acrylic on chipboard with an impressionistic style - faces are occasionally only vaguely formed. Looking again, I'm surprised by how many spreads incorporate bright greens for the baseball fields, because my original impression was that the palette ...more
Rachael
I liked this a lot, and didn't mind the conversational style EXCEPT when I got to the sentence with "we was." That's just a little too informal for me. My sons loved it when I turned on my radio sports announcer voice to read the play-by-plays. :)
Mary
I couldn't help but hum the This Week in Baseball theme song while reading this book. This picture book biography of the Say Hey Kid includes the highlights of his career including his start in the Negro Leagues at the age of 15 (!), his homerun in his first at-bat at the Polo Grounds, and his exciting defensive plays. I had to look up "The Catch" on youtube to see this amazing feat. I wish I could find footage of "The Throw" as well. When I read about baseball players like this, it always makes ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
“You never heard of Willie Mays? Geez, where to begin?” If your kids have ever wondered about the statue in front of Giants stadium, care about baseball at all or just want a rip-roaring tale full of drama and energy this biography captures the thrilling style of the greatest all round player in history who showed the world a new way to play the game and changed how America saw African American players.
The richly colored and muscular acrylic paintings compliment the effusive and convincing prose
...more
Chelsea Cotton
Like many I had heard of Willie Mays, but not to the extent Joan Winter explains. Winter provides fascinating facts about Willie May's life as a child, baseball player, and life following. This book is great for children who aspire to be a professional athlete. Very inspirational.
Amy
Conversational tone of the author makes the reader feel as if he's right there telling you Mays' story. Great Author's note and back matter.
Liz
I liked the Sandy Koufax one by Winter, but I really love his new Willie Mays biography! The "lenticular" cover is pretty cool, (I never even heard of that word!!) but it's the story of a "black" kid from the south who dreamed of being the next Joe DiMaggio, even though at the time he couldn't even drink from the same drinking fountain as "whites." His talents were recognized early and he began a career in the Negro Baseball Leagues at the age of 15. Great story. Interesting facts. Great back ma ...more
Great Books
Willie Mays, one of the greatest all-round ballplayers ever, comes to life in this fantastic picture book biography. Very conversational and a great readaloud, it will win over fans (and non-fans) of all ages. Learn about Willy playing pro ball in the Negro Leagues when he was only 15, though his whole amazing career with the New York Giants and more. Vivid oil paintings thrum with action on and off field. Great stat facts are incorporated through ticket stubs on many pages, plus you’ll see Will ...more
Robyn Shtadtlender
A well done biography of a baseball player who, while I've heard of him, I didn't really didn't know anything about him. The illustrations add a certain feel to the book that really works. The author's chose to make the text very conversational, like the reader can imagine Willie himself probably spoke, also works very well. There are baseball facts littered throughout, as well a glossary of baseball terms at the end. The cover is, obviously, awesome (who doesn't love lenticular design??)!
Amy Carr
I really love this author and the well crafted, fascinating biographies he has written on some of the US's most prolific baseball players! I love that the people he chooses to write his biographies on are not only individuals who have made a name for themselves through a particular craft or sport, but also demonstrate admirable personal characteristics. Wonderful, high interest book to use in teaching character traits to children.
Maggie
I like the way the book starts with a picture of Willie listening to a New York Yankees radio broadcast, which the writer exerpts. Then near the end, the author provides another exact quote from a radio exerpt of a phenomenal Willie Mays' play. Kids who enjoy baseball stats will enjoy the way the stats augment the text. Terry Widener's artwork is a rich enhancement of the text. Recommend for grades 2-4.
Kristen
Jonah Winter has been a longtime favorite of mine, and this book hits the mark as expected, telling the story of Willie Mays from the casual, colloquial perspective of a fan, punctuating his explosive rise to fame with great art and sidebars with statistics comparing Mays to other greats like Babe Ruth & Ted Williams. Great source material in the back, naturally.
Carl Sanders
Say Hey! Look at this Book!

The action starts with the lenticular motion cover and includes illustrations by Terry Widener that propel the the baseball action along. The book was wonderfully written and the broadcast quotes added to the excitement. The book culminates with "the Catch" in 1954.
Emily Scheinman
Loved, loved this book. I happened to sit one table away from Mr. Willie Mays at a Giants Community Foundation breakfast. What an amazing man. And Jonah Winter and Terry Widener do a great job of weaving history into the story of Willie Mays through text and illustrations.
Debbie Tanner
I LOVE the voice of this author. The style is so conversational, you really feel like someone is talking to you about why Willie Mays is the best baseball player EVER. The other book he wrote about Sandy Koufax is really great too!
Hapzydeco
A must-have for the true baseball fan. The book cover brings The Say Hey Kid to life. Marvelous illustrations. Willie Mays’ statistics. Note: saw Willie Mays play in an exhibition game at Cooperstown in the ‘50s.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Not sure I like the cover - though I am looking at the F&G so the cover may still change. However, this picture book biography of Willie Mayes is informative, interesting facts, and good endnotes.

Sharon Lawler
There is something for everyone in this title, whether you are looking for text, statistics or superb artwork. Jonah Winters really brings Willie Mays to life, and I loved the illustrations by Terry Widener.
Ann
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