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Out of Left Field

( The Gordon Family Saga #3)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  780 ratings  ·  204 reviews
A story about the fight for equal rights in America's favorite arena: the baseball field!

Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she's a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it's a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy's game and always has been. It's not fair, and Katy's going to fight
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Carlie Corson No, you can totally read this book without having read the other books, everything will still make sense and be unaffected. However, the other books a…moreNo, you can totally read this book without having read the other books, everything will still make sense and be unaffected. However, the other books are really good, so I recommend reading them. I also think that the reading experience with this book will be better if you have read the other books. (less)

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Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  780 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love historical fiction and I love baseball and I love girls standing up for what they believe in, so of course I loved this!

I have a lot to say about this book.

First, I LOVED that it took place in the Bay Area, because I am from the bay. The SF Giants are mentioned in this and they’re my favorite team (Go Giants!). Additionally, I liked that it talked about the San Fransisco Seals because truthfully I’ve never
I may have given up on understanding baseball but I can never give up history. This is a fiction but loaded with facts, nonfiction - women in baseball and the space race.

In 1957, Malaya was on her way to gain independence from the Brit and in the States, a 1O year old Katy Gordon was in a war of words of her own with the Little League's board. Katy was a damn fine pitcher, she loved baseball, knew most of the players and stats but there was this one sentence in the Little League's rule book that
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Girls don't play baseball.

Or do they?

If you ask kids today whether or not girls can play baseball, it might depend on how much they know about the sport—and also if they've ever heard of one of my favorite movies of all time, A League of their Own.

But for Katy in 1957, women or girls in baseball was an unheard of thing. She was an anomaly, because the long history of women's leagues and women baseball players had been suppressed throughout history, even though the All-American Girl's Baseball Le
Debbie Notkin
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ellen Klages is a friend, and I'm also a fan of her writing, including her young adult historicals The Green Glass Sea and White Sands, Red Menace. This book follows the younger sister of the two girls who are the protagonists of the first two books. Katy Gordon is a young baseball pitcher in the late 1950s, struggling with the widely held notion that baseball is a man's sport.

When that belief flies up and hits her in the face, Katy goes on a historical tour through the long, deep, and mostly f
This is a book about baseball and library research, and it should not be as thrilling as it is, but Katy's earnest voice gives even the mundane urgency and heart. I love that it ends not with victory but with the message that sometimes the struggle for justice is worth engaging in for its own sake, regardless of outcome. ...more
Ms. B
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's a lot that you may not know about baseball in this story set in the late 1950s. Katy wants to play Little League baseball and she is good enough to make her local team. There's a catch though; according to Little League rules; girls are not eligible. By learning the history of female ballplayers and the Negro Leagus, can Katy change the minds of Little League? ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t like sports books. I’m not interested in sports, period. So that makes it doubly impressive that I couldn’t put this book down!

Katy Gordon is the best pitcher in the neighborhood, hands-down. She’s so good that she impresses a passing Little League recruiter and he invites her to tryouts. Naturally, she makes the cut and everything’s awesome!

…except that it’s 1957. Girls are not eligible for Little League, period. No exceptions. She may have passed as a boy for tryouts, but some kid’s mo
Kris Patrick
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it
To borrow from another Goodreads reviewer, Out of Left Field has strengths and weaknesses. I can’t get past the weaknesses enough to give it more than three stars.

To choose one, I’m not a fan of anything that perpetuates a tomboy / non-tomboy binary. For one, I don’t like the term tomboy the same way I can’t stand the phrase girly-girl. Puke. Girls come in all shapes, sizes, and haircuts (!) with a wide and complex list of interests. An interest in indoor activities such as cooking and crafts d
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading this book to my daughter. I want her to read a million more books like this. Books that teach her that you have the ability to fight for change when you don’t think something is right. And when you need answers you can go to the library! Recommended for all kids and especially those who love baseball and softball.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Neil Gaiman praises a book you know it's going to be good! Set in 1957, Out of Left Field is a great middle grades read aloud filled with historical references AND gumption. I'm looking forward to teaching this one! ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved, loved, loved this book! What a fantastic story about a strong young woman bucking society's norms, who stands up for herself and fights for the right, not only for herself, but for all young women, to be whatever they want to be and do whatever they want to do, and in her case, doing it better than all the boys! An absolutely terrific read.

When I bought the book I knew that it was written by Ellen Klages whose two books The Green Glass Sea and the sequel White Sands, Red Menace I had b
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much and it just go's to show that girls CAN do anything even if every one thinks otherwise and tells them not to. Katy Gordon tries hard at everything and even though it may not work she finds out so much about her heroes ...more
Elodie Alifanz
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought overall this was a really good book. I really liked how she never quit and she didn't really care what anyone else thought about her. ...more
Richie Partington
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Picks: OUT OF LEFT FIELD by Ellen Klages, Viking, May 2018, 320p., ISBN: 978-0-425-28859-7

“Talkin' baseball!
The Man and Bobby Feller
The Scooter, the Barber, and the Newc
They knew 'em all from Boston to Dubuque
Especially Willie, Mickey, and the Duke”
-- Terry Cashman, “Talkin’ Baseball” (1981)

“‘I’m Coach Martin,’ the man said. He had a strong voice that carried. ‘For almost twenty years, Little League has been open to any boy who wants to play baseball. Your race, your religion, your ethn
Ms. Yingling
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
ARC provided by publisher at ALA

Ten-year-old Katy is a fantastic pitcher, so great that a local Little League coach encourages her to sign up for the team. She does, but of course in 1957, girls aren't allowed to play baseball. Her mother, a university professor of nuclear chemistry, lets her know that it's a battle she can fight, but she probably won't win. The mother was a victim of McCarthy era politics who lost her job, friends, and marriage because she refused to give in to the demands of t
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed every minute I spent with Katy Gordon – ball player with a Sunday pitch that demands respect, girl who knows pig-headed injustice when she sees it, smart kid who puts in the hard work it takes to be heard. And also, a likeable ten-year-old in late 1950s San Francisco.

Katy’s story is a good one. Her determination and her luck are a little out-sized, but less so when you consider that the story is set in the 1950s. And here is where I so admire Ellen Klages’s writing. There’s the usual l
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Equality. Sexism. Civil Rights. Empowerment. Why aren't people talking about this book?!

This middle grade story is truly filled with everything the younger generation needs to be reading about. Honestly, can this be assigned reading?! Set in 1957, this book has so much accurate history written into the story that it could offer a unique way for children to learn about the past.

I am SO happy this was written and may still be tearing up thinking of the main character's presentation. Really hoping
Erin Buhr
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
OUT OF LEFT FIELD took me by surprise and I love it when books do that.

The plot sounded good. I like books with strong girls and Katy who is determined to play baseball at all costs sounded like a girl with gumption. I also enjoy historical fiction. I've always been a bit of a history geek so I love when authors utilize the sense of place and deep history of a period as the setting for their stories.

I was expected a good historical fiction story about a strong girl. I got so much more. This is
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
This middle grade historical novel, set in Berkeley in 1957, is a winner. It starts strong: a reader coming to the book knowing nothing about it could easily assume that the spunky baseball-playing first-person narrator is a boy, as does the Little League recruiter who sees the ace pitcher at a neighborhood game. I also love the book's ending, which is satisfying without being pat. Katy has worked so hard to try to convince the Little League to change its no-girls rule, without success. But she ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When reading and reviewing middle grade books, I try to consider how 10 year old me would like the book. 10 year old me would absolutely have loved Out of Left Field. In fact, I'm a bit disappointed this book wasn't around when I was 10, because I'm pretty sure if it was I'd have read it so many times. While I wasn't able to enjoy this book at age 10, adult me loved it as well.
Set in San Francisco in1957-1958, Out of Left Field tells the story of a ten year old baseball player, Katy. After a Li
This would have been my 12-year-old self's favorite book.
A terrific story of Katy Gordon, a baseball player who is prevented from playing little league because she is a girl. Through an excellent school research project, a supportive mom, and a gutsy spirit she learns the history of women playing baseball. Set pre-title IX, girls reading this will feel the injustice and just root for Katy the whole way. The great back matter highlights some of the amazing women baseball players who played in th
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tweens
I’m giving this book a 4.5. I really liked it; it was truly the perfect book for me. Ellen Klages combined fighting for women’s rights with a love of baseball (with statistics included), and a deep appreciation for the public library into this historical fiction chapter book. This book needed to be written. I knew there were female baseball players, and I had previously (even somewhat recently) read a biography on Edith Houghton, and I absolutely knew that MLB is so sexist, they only just recent ...more
Hannah Fjeld
Enjoyable story of a young girl who loves to play baseball and the epic research project about women in baseball she takes on when she finds out that girls can’t play in Little League. I particularly loved the research aspect— how the project evolved (talk about a real life example of a passion project!), and the many different types of research she did—from hours in the library to interviews and more.
Ridgewood Public Library Youth Services
Marnie is especially talented in baseball but it's her best friend, Cody, who's the star of the baseball team. When Cody gets injured during a game, the team needs someone to replace him. With encouragement from Cody and their friends, Marnie finds the courage to try out for the team. This is a sweet story that I recommend to readers interested in books with romance and friendship.

- Anonymous, Grade 7
Sarah Smith
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, kindle
How many people are going to say "This is a home run"? Well, me too. Katy Gordon, 10 years old, has a great pitching arm and wants to play Little League; but she's a girl and it's 1957. She reinvents herself as "Casey," but when she's discovered, Little League officials tell her that girls have never played baseball.

Really? Is she the only one? Katy's quest to find another woman baseball player leads her to hundreds of them, and to the history-suppression that made them invisible. With the help
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidlit
The first few chapters went slowly for me, but the plot pacing picked up by chapter 7. This is a great recommendation for baseball fans, female athletes, and anyone interested in history and the (ongoing) fight for equality. The “Meet Katy’s Heroes” section provides a great overview of women in baseball.
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely FANTASTIC. Based on true accounts it tells a heartwarming narrative of a girl who loves baseball. What sets this book apart are the factual social justice undertones seamlessly woven throughout the story. I hope this book is shared far and wide. My boys LOVED it and it opened the door for so many important conversations in our home.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-rating
As a lover of both books and baseball, I was beyond excited to find this book. It’s quite a simple plot, with a powerful message and a lot of learning. I loved learning about the many women who played baseball despite the world telling them girls weren’t good enough and proving those haters wrong. #girlpower
Renee Zennaiter
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Katy Gordon has guts! I loved this book for it's heart. I loved the mother/daughter interactions. I loved the friendships and the thought provoking teacher. Any baseball lover, young or old, would enjoy the historical look at early baseball. The theme of discrimination of several kinds is at a level that young readers will understand. This is in the running for award winning! ...more
Amber K.
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adored this historical fiction middle grade novel about a girl that fights the status quo when she isn’t allowed to play baseball with the boys. If you are a fan of A League of Their Own, you *must* read this book. I WILL be adding this to my classroom library and possibly reading it aloud in the spring.
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Ellen Klages was born in Ohio, and now lives in San Francisco.

Her short fiction has appeared in science fiction and fantasy anthologies and magazines, both online and in print, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Black Gate, and Firebirds Rising. Her story, "Basement Magic," won the Best Novelette Nebula Award in 2005. Several of her other stories have been on the final ballot f

Other books in the series

The Gordon Family Saga (3 books)
  • The Green Glass Sea (Green Glass, #1)
  • White Sands, Red Menace (Green Glass #2)

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