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We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
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We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  2,438 ratings  ·  465 reviews
The story of Negro League baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the ...more
Audio CD, 2 pages
Published January 30th 2009 by Brilliance Audio (first published January 8th 2008)
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Gobnait Kadir Nelson both wrote and illustrated this book.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen
i already know all about the negro baseball league from that x-files episode with jesse l martin. this book seems to skip over all those parts. however, it would be a good read for baseball history fans, and the voice of the narrator made it very immediate and enjoyable.
Betsy
Rube Foster was the founder of the Negro National League. Said he of his men, "We are the ship: all else the sea." As long as there has been baseball in America there have been African-American ballplayers. Men like Sol White and Bud Fowler. Before Rube Foster, however, there was no organized professional league. Then, on February 20, 1920, Rube called together owners of black baseball teams, like himself, and the Negro National League began. Through the collective voice of the players, we hear ...more
Greg
I agree with Karen's reviews from this morning. Reading these non-fiction children's books has been eye-opening.

This is a great book. Objectively it's probably a five star book, it only gets four stars from me because my interest in baseball isn't that great, that's not the books fault though. At first I was afraid the book would fall apart under its language, the author uses a rhythm that is kind of old fashioned and stereotypically a rural African American. Instead of ever crossing the line i
...more
Megan
Last school year, we had the opportunity to welcome author/illustrator Kadir Nelson as a speaker. He put on an assembly for our students as well as signed copies of his books. The book I choose to get was We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. This book was one that I had never read or had experience with. Additionally, I didn’t know much about Kadir Nelson’s books.
The book was a telling of the history of Negro League baseball. Detailing the successes the players had and the stru
...more
Abby Johnson
This beautifully illustrated book chronicles the rise and fall of Negro League Baseball. Full-page paintings give you a real look at some of the most talented baseball players of their time (and possibly of any time). The writing is also awesome. Using a collective "we", Kadir Nelson speaks with the voice of all Negro League players, like he's been there and seen everything that he talks about. He uses a very conversational tone, like you were sitting on the back porch with any one of the player ...more
Jean
If this doesn't win an award of some kind it will be a tragedy. The artwork alone is enough to make this book a hit. But Kadir Nelson's storytelling ability draws in the reader and keeps us wanting to know more. As I read, I felt like I was sitting and listening to someone like Buck O'Neill talking about the old days. He traces the history of the Negro Leagues from its inception through its heyday. We not only learn about the skills of some of the more famous players, but we also learn about wha ...more
Erin
We are the Ship beautifully relays the birth, life, and the final stretch of the Negro Baseball League. Information is presented in nine innings, and begins with the work of Rube Foster, founder and father of the Negro League. In simple but elegant prose, Kadir Nelson recreates the passion, talent, and often times, less that glamorous life of the players in the Negro League. What began as a match-up of eight mid-western teams grew into an icon of entertainment, drawing in more than 30,000 fans a ...more
Charmie McKinney
We Are The Ship – The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

This book is the general history of Negro League Baseball from the beginning when African-Americans left professional baseball due to all the physical and mental hatred they had to endure from White players to when Jackie Robinson broke the “color barrier” of Major League Baseball thus ushering in the end of the Negro Leagues as Major League Baseball owners began to sign Negro League players. Famous Negro League players, teams,
...more
Patricia
Okay, ready to be jealous? Kadir Nelson is here in Springfield at the Illinois Reading Council Conference. I spoke to him after his presentation on his art. He is soft spoken, as Junko knows, and incredibly talented with oils and ethical when it comes to authenticity in his works.

We Are the Ship

Sibert Award 2009

I went to one of Kadir Nelson’s sessions at IRC today. This very soft spoken man had us on the edge of our seats, moving in closer to get a glimpse of the boy who has been drawing since h
...more
Eboni
Turns out Nelson is a respectable writer, in addition to being an amazing illustrator. Some folks get ALL the talent :p Definitely gave me a lil' more respect for the game- cool idea to name the chapters "innings"
Leslie Brevard
4th- 6th grades
Nelson did an interesting job picking the drawings he used in this book. There were many action photos as well as silent photos. I thought that even though they were not real photographs, they were drawn to look very real. The uniforms had dirt on them and the expressions on the men’s faces were so emotional. I also liked how he highlighted some of the pictures to really make the character stand out. The text in this book would be a little more difficult for younger readers. Even
...more
Phil Mitchell
I love baseball. It brings back not just the joy from my childhood playing the game but how my father and I quietly and intently watched anything related to baseball. This book reminded me one day of when the classic homerun derby was on television and my dad said, "Put it on." On the show, Jackie Robinson challenged Ted Williams. By dad said, " Son, you're about to watch the masters." I was hooked. In the end, Jackie Robinson won. He was mad. At first, I was confused. My father was no racist. I ...more
Tim Snell
Genre: Biography
Copyright: 2008

"Makes you mad to hear players today squawk about jet lag, and all of this. Try sleeping in a car with your knees to your chest, crammed with eight other guys, only to play a game the next day."

"Players today just don't know how bad it could be. We look back and wonder, "How did we do all of that?" It's simple. We loved the game so much, we just looked past everything else."

Today, we idolize baseball players like C.C. Sabathia, Ryan Howard, Ken Griffey Jr., and Jer
...more
Elizabeth K.
This has both rich illustrations and substantial narrative text, so this is eligible for the Newbery as well as the Caldecott (I think). If you are a person who likes the history of baseball, or the history of sport in general, this is a great book for you even if you do not usually read a lot of kids' illustrated books. One of the things I like about Nelson's artwork is that his style has a lot of 1930s/1940s/WPA influences, and that's a great mesh for this subject matter. The story of the book ...more
Debbie Reiber
We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson is a nonfiction children’s book. This book won the Coretta Scott King Award for author and illustrator in 2009. The age group this book is intended for is intermediate to advance readers. The book describes how Negro baseball leagues developed and fell. But it also told the story of segregation and inequality, as well as strength, courage, patience, and tolerance.
I like the presentation of this book. I like how this story took o
...more
Evan Taylor
Did you know that the first pair of cleats were made by Bud Fowler because he got sick of white baseball players kicking him in the shin with their spiked cleats? I did not know this either and I would not have known if I did not read We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson. This book goes through the history of the Negro Baseball League and all of the players that played within the Negro Baseball League. In this history of the Negro Baseball League, there are also ma ...more
529_Amalia
We Are the Ship: the Story of Negro League Baseball written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, is the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Award for Information Book. Nelson tells the history of the Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920’s through its decline in 1947 when Jackie Robinson joined the majors. Nelson uses an “Everyman”, a fictional player, as the narrator that makes you feel as if you are right there in the stadium watching the Negro Leaguers’ play themselves. Nelson tells the story t ...more
A_Cathi
I am amazed by the paintings by Kadir Nelson. He truly makes you feel that you are looking out of a window into a scene when you read this book. The expressions on the faces of the men who worked tirelessly to play baseball because of the love of the game made you feel you were right there with them. Their eyes, mouth and tilt of their heads were very real to me. The marriage of the text with the illustrations were amazing. The book took me much longer to read because of the illustrations - I wa ...more
Melissa
This book is for 5th through 6th grade students. Nelson's paintings are the main aspects of this book that really blow you away - they are amazing! You can really read the book by just viewing and drawing conclusions from the pictures themselves. The text is good, it is rather long and seems as though it would be more interesting if it were shortened. There a lot of names from the Negro Leagues that I couldn't connect to, so the stories were not very engaging to me for the most part. This book d ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Note to self:

p. 66: end of the big paragraph -- People who didn't know anything about baseball came to the ballpark in their Sunday best just to be SEEN at the East-West Game, you hear? Black AND white. <-- an example of the conversational tone that makes this such an enjoyable read.

Bottom of same page: "The almighty dollar has a way of changing folks' minds."

p. 72: "I remember a bunch of the guys sitting around talking about Jackie and the stuff those white flaks were doing to him while he w
...more
Toby
An art book that would not be out of place on Michigan Avenue coffee tables, and yet We Are the Ship perfectly fits the CSK critera to portray some aspect of the African-American experience that "motivates readers to develop their own attitudes and behaviors as well as comprehend their personal duty and responsibility as citizens in a pluralistic
society."
Clearly, We Are the Ship was a labor of love, of years of research, with a friendly narrator designed to hold a conversation with child read
...more
Lindsey
I listened to this book on CD.

I was not particularly excited about listening to this book, as I am not especially interested in the history of baseball, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. This book describes the experiences of the Negro League from the 1920s to the late 1940s. The book manages to describe all of the discrimination that the players endured, and the general hardships that they faced without sounding whiny, which made it more powerful to me. Unlike many stories of African Amer
...more
Marla
Fascinating! The author was not particularly a fan of baseball and I think, because of that, he has added some depth that reaches those of us who are merely casual observers of the game. He brings the history of the Negro Leagues to vivid life with anecdotes and dialog that evoke a different place and time full of unique characters and uncomfortable encounters with discrimination. The details included about the discrimination the players faced were often things I'd never considered and made the ...more
Lynn
I have always loved baseball and especially the stories about the early days of baseball. This book was a treat for me with all the fabulous stories about the Negro League. I haven't tested this on kids yet but I do wonder if it will be a bit difficult for most kids because of the many unfamilar names that are often listed. The illustrations are breath-taking! They make me think of WPA Depression era murals in their scale and power and I have looked at them over and over. Nelson, through his ast ...more
Ch_amyM
"We are the ship; all else the sea." -Rube Foster, founder of the Negro League, Owner of the Chicago American Giants
Through gorgeous pictures and a story like telling, Kadir Nelson shares the history of Negro League Baseball. Told in "9 Innings," Nelson shares how the Negro League was formed, how the Negro League changed the way baseball was played, life in the league, baseball in Latin America, and Jackie Robinson's start in Major League Baseball which opened the door for other African American
...more
Amy
Finally, an audio recording that is a smooth and luscious as the rich story told! Dion Graham, a prolific audio narrator, reads Kadir Nelson's story in an honest, well paced way. I downloaded this version from itunes, without the book. I enjoyed listening to it but would have really liked to have the book with me. The illustrations from this story are on a traveling exhibit, visit www.wearetheship.com for more information.

It is as if you are sitting around after dinner, listening to an old timer
...more
Zaid Ahmed
The Negro League Baseball players wanted to play in the majors. But because of the blacks and whites they weren't allowed to play. So when they played they had to play with the major league teams after the season had ended. Then were the black players better than the white players or not?

The main idea of the story is to never discriminate.
Shannon Cash
We are the Ship is a story based all about the Negro league during the 1930’s, 40’s and part of the 50’s. The author open the story is a note from the famous Hank Aaron sharing his personal story about his experience in the league. Even though the book is mainly about baseball the author does have include how the players were treated by many back then. The book ends with the story of Jackie Robinson and how he became the first African-American to play in the major leagues. This story great to le ...more
Ms.Tina  Stone
This book is very deep and has many different elements. The story is arranged into historical innings much like the actual game of baseball including researched information about individual players, the impact of racism and so much more. This book does include some of the harsh realities of segregation and how hard it was for the players while traveling. One powerful quote that stood out to me was, "It's a hurtful thing when you're starving and have a pocketful of money but can't find a place to ...more
RLL52014_Rachel Weiss Roth
We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson tells the true stories behind the Negro League baseball team. Having not grown up with much knowledge of baseball, I actually had not even heard of the concept of the Negro League before this book. I think it is such a fantastic topic because it can really strike a chord with baseball loving children and has the opportunity to teach children about segregation in the process.
Part of what makes this book so unique is the beautiful art that appears on each page. This
...more
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