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Willie and the All-Stars
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Willie and the All-Stars

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Willie, an African-American boy growing up in Chicago, dreams of playing baseball in the Major Leagues, like his idols. But it's 1942, and Jackie Robinson is years away from breaking the color barrier. One day Willie sits with the old men in the neighborhood as they spin tall baseball tales. Willie knows the game like the back of his hand, but he's never heard of Josh ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 18th 2008 by Philomel Books
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  68 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-book
Wonderful story of the Negro League baseball stars. The storyline develops quickly and historically correct.
Laykin Toney
This book is good for diverse classrooms of all ethnicities. It teaches to never give up on your hopes and dreams despite what others tell you.
Stacey Cook
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: diversity
This fiction story takes place in the 1940’s. Willie, the main character, is a young African-American boy. Willie dreams of playing baseball in the Major Leagues. Willie hears his grandpa Ezra telling stories with friends about baseball players. However, Willie does not recognize any of the players that his grandfather and grandfather’s friends are talking about. Willie asks “How come I never heard of these players before?” and his Grandpa Ezra answered “That’s because they’re Negro Leaguers.” “ ...more
Megan Koval
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Willie and the All-Stars is a book that talks about segregation in the MLB in 1942. Willie is a young African American boy whose grandmother introduced him to baseball and he listens to baseball quite often on the radio. Willie's dream is to be in the MLB. However, one day Willie hears some of the men in his neighborhood talking about baseball players he has never heard of. He is informed that they are players from the Negro leauge and that becasue of his skin color he may never be able to ...more
I love the emotion conveyed in the illustrations, the characters are so beautifully drawn, the story is fun but ends a little abruptly so you need the last illustation. Pairs well with Kadir Nelson's Negro League book.
Mallory White
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Willie the young African American boy who lived in north Chicago also lived with his grandmother. His grandmother always told him to love the game of baseball while he was growing up. Willies love for baseball was extreme and he had big dreams to pursue. While talking to his neighbor Mr. Wilson, his dreams began to shatter when Mr. Wilson told him " You are black, and will not be able to be a famous baseball player". Sean who was Willies best friend was a caucasian boy who lived close by. Sean ...more
Juliana Lee
Set in 1942, Willie and his friend Sean live for baseball. They play everyday and listen to the games on the radio. Then one of the old men on the street corner tell Willie he'll never get to play with the big leagues because of the color of his skin. Ol' Ezra tells him stories of great players on the all Negro Baseball League. Willie is heartbroken. But one day, Ol' Ezra get two tickets to Wrigley Field. He gives them to Willie so he and Sean could go to a game. And wasn't just any game, it ...more
Rosa Cline
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story although not a biography, it's based upon a real event that happened in the mid 1940's. During that time colored men couldn't play on any baseball team. So they came together and made a team themselves and traveled to anywhere they could to play.

In this story a little Negro boy dreams of playing one day and going to Wrigley Field to watch a game. He over hears a group of men talking and mentioning many names he'd never heard of before. He asks about them and they tell him that they
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Willie is a young black boy living in Chicago with his grandmother, who has instilled in him a love of baseball. Willie dreams of someday playing in the major leagues. When Willie hears Ol' Ezra talking baseball with some men on the street - he doesn't recognize any of the names being said. He later learns it's because the men are on a Negro baseball team. Set in 1942, this book takes a look at race in relation to baseball. The race barrier hasn't been broken just yet - but this is still a ...more
"It was 1942 and nothing came easy, not even a boy's dreams."

Willie, a young baseball fan is awakened to the prejudice in the game when he is told about the Negro Leagues and the black players who are not allowed to play in the Major Leagues. But when he sees the all stars of the Negro League beat the all stars of the Major Leagues at Wrigley Field, his hopes and dreams are rekindled. Especially when he see two players, one black and one white, meet on the mound and shake hands "a nod of
Mary Sanchez
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing

In 1940s Chicago Willie, a black child, knows everything about the Major League stars but then his neighbor, Ol' Ezra, mentions baseball players, Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson, who Willie has never heard of on the radio. He learns they play in the Negro League so he doesn't think they are as good as Major League players, until he gets a chance to watch the two leagues play in an exhibition game at Wrigley Field. Willie learns the color of your skin doesn't say how good a baseball player you
This books saving grace is it's illustrations. Such feeling and depth is depicted in each page, yet the text falls flat. I know the book got a starred review in Kirkus, so maybe I'm missing something! I did like the story, and the idea of the story (A little boy getting to see the Negro Leaguers), but the text seemed choppy and didn't flow easily from page to page. Do check it out though! The oil paintings are gorgeous.
Kalee Maneth
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: el230
This is a new favorite of mine. The story in this might be a little much for young kids if they haven't talked about African-Americans being separated before this story. If they have talked about it, or plan on talking about it, it will be a great book. The illustrations in this book are great and cover the entire page. This is a great book that deals with multi culture and is one I defiantly want in my classroom library and at home.
Jul 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a nice piece of historical fiction that looks at the issue of racism through the context of a young African American boy, hoping to play in the major leagues. The highlight of the book is when the Negro league all stars face off against the major leaguers at Wrigley field. The book ends with a message of racial harmony. The book was illustrated beautifully. I also liked how the book looked at racism through a child's perspective. Four out of five stars.
Mandy J. Hoffman
Apr 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
This is a great kids story and history lesson all wrapped up into one book. I liked the way it talked about issues of race from the perspective of a kid and without making it into a big deal. It did a good job of talking about the problem of separation without going to deep and getting too emotionally charged for kids to understand. The kids and I enjoyed both the story as well as the illustrations.
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
A non-fiction story about The Negro Leagues of All Star baseball players. Historical and a story to go with the events. And the events are presented in a picture book format to explain things to children of current day and times. Good non fiction read aloud for elementary children and story starter.
Heather Johnston
Dec 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a heartwarming story that tells the tell of racism as it affected baseball around the turn of the century. Would be great for history, social issues, ect.

CO: 2008

Genre: Historical Fiction
Sam Bloom
Floyd Cooper is a seriously talented artist, but his characters sometimes have over-the-top facial expressions. Story also wins points for being set in Chicago, and for the fact that Willie is a Cubs' fan and gets to go to a game at Wrigley!
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fantastic historical fiction about the boys who dreamed of playing baseball before Jackie Robinson made it possible.
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great Black History read.
Oct 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, picture-books
Willie is introduced to the Negro leagues in this history picture book with full page lush illutrations. Includes history postscript.
Jun 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Beautiful illustrations. I'd pair this picture book with Kadir Nelson's "We Are The Ship."
Ms. Jackson
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
A story about a boy who loves baseball and gets to go to an All-star game between the Negro leagues and MLB. The art work is beautiful.
Oct 23, 2014 added it
Shelves: edrd-314
This book does many things. It reviews history, and takes children back in time. They feel how Eddie feels, and get a sense of what his life was like. This book teaches a lot about dreams.
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Aug 20, 2013
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Sonia Allison
rated it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2016
Sonja Isaacson
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Sep 21, 2014
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Feb 14, 2018
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May 21, 2018
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Floyd Cooper received a Coretta Scott King Honor for his illustrations in Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea and I Have Heard Of A Land. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Mr. Cooper received a degree in fine arts from the University of Oklahoma. In 1984 he came to New York City to pursue a career as an illustrator of books and now lives in Easton, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two sons.