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Goodbye, Mr. Spalding

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Set in Philadelphia during the Great Depression, this middle-grade historical novel tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy and his best friend as they attempt to stop a wall from being built at Shibe Park, home of the Philadelphia Athletics, that would block the view of the baseball field from their rooftops.

In 1930s Philadelphia, twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Calkins Creek Books
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Ms. Yingling
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by publisher

Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola both live right across from the home of the Philadelphia A's field, Shibe Park, during the Great Depression. Both of their families count on the little bit of extra money they can make selling tickets to watch the game from the roof, as well as from concessions. When the owner threatens to put up a "spite fence" in order to block the view, the neighborhood is duly upset, and Jimmy and Lola try to find ways to talk to Connie Mack and
Jenni Heins
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such wonderful historical fiction that was almost non-fiction. I loved this Depression-era baseball story. Found it very similar to the writing of Gennifer Choldenko and her Al Capone books. (Sorry, K-Nel, but you're going to want to add this to reading pile!)
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This wonderful coming-of-age story combines history, baseball, and most importantly, the heart-warming friendship between 12-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola. Goodbye Mr. Spalding gives a fresh look into the Great Depression, focusing on a family that supplements its income by selling tickets to their rooftop bleachers, which have a great view of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball games. When the team decides to build a “Spite Fence” to block their view, it ignites a battle between ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Goodbye Mr. Spalding! For a girl who grew up playing pick up baseball most weekends, this book was a pure delight. Just like Lola, often my best friends were boys . . . boys who could throw a ball as far as I could and who could keep up with me in general. Jimmy loves his Philadelphia A's with all his heart and soul, but sometimes his plans to save the team and the ballpark from what he considers utter ruin get the best of him and it is his bestie, Lola, who usually talks some sense into him. , ...more
Cristofer Mattern
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a fan of sports and history, this book was right up my alley. I can already see a movie in my head.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Appealing to fans of historical fiction and baseball, this tale is brimming with details that make the book come alive and firmly set the reader in Jimmy’s neighborhood during the Great Depression, including types of candy such as Valomilk and games like Johnny-on-the-pony. Far from being a stuffy history, the text and dialog are lively and will not seem dated to today’s reader. The neighborhood dynamics that become a source of confusion for Jimmy, including bullies and having a girl for a best ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
GOODBYE, MR. SPALDING, by Jennifer Robin Barr is a thoughtful and heart-warming middle grade tale of friendship, family and baseball set in Philadelphia in the early 1930’s.

Twelve-year-old Jimmy Frank and his best friend Lola have lived next door to each other since they were babies. Their houses overlook Shibe Park which happens to be the home of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team. They and their families enjoy cheering on their favorite team from the rooftop bleachers of their 20th
Valerie McEnroe
I just love a new book to recommend to my sports fans, especially when they're in agony over their historical fiction requirement, and I can be the one to restore their faith in books.

Jimmie Frank and his best friend Lola live in the row houses across from Shibe Field, home of the Philadelphia A's. The country is in the throes of the Great Depression, but fans will be fans. Baseball is king. However, money is tight. Everyone is looking to make a buck or save a buck. That's when the rooftops of
Laura Sibson
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Last night, I settled in to read just a little more of Goodbye, Mr. Spalding while the Phillies were playing on TV. Hours later, I finished with the satisfied feeling that you only get from completing a good book. Jennifer Barr's fantastic historical middle grade novel follows James Francis, known as Jimmy Frank, and his best friend Lola as they root on the Philadelphia Athletics and hope for a return to former World Series glory, but it's 1934 and things are tough all over. When Shibe Park ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Goodbye, Mr. Spalding tells the story of twelve-year old Jimmy Frank, a depression-era boy who loves baseball and who especially loves that his family can make some extra cash by selling seating on his family's roof to Philadelphia Athletic fans. Apparently, this was a real thing! Shibe Park, where the Athletics played, had one low wall and the people who lived across from it set up bleachers on their rooftops and sold tickets to the fans. No surprise, the fellow who owned the park resented that ...more
Gail Shepherd
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you had no idea that during the Great Depression, hundreds of avid baseball fans packed nearby rooftops for a clear view of the games at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, this middle grade debut will put you right there on those rickety stands. Barr's novel takes off from a real historical premise: the owners of Shibe Park, fed up with low ticket sales, decide to build a wall to block the free view--a plan that sets the neighborhood in turmoil.

This funny, heartfelt story follows 12-year-old Jimmy
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: c-a
I liked this one! I love baseball, but didn't know about the roof top viewing section. This was a fun story with a bit of history mixed in. I felt bad for the families who depended on the baseball viewing. I liked the notes at the end, which gave more history about it.

Oct 23, 2019 added it
Goodbye, Mr. Spalding is about two kids. The story takes place during the Great depression, and they live right across the street from Shibe park the A's stadium at the time. They have bleachers on top of their houses. They also own a store full of tools but at this time it wasn't enough for them, so they have people come over and sit on the bleachers on top of their house to make extra money. Most people decide to sit up on the bleachers, because the seats are so much cheaper. But the owner of ...more
Michele Niec
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the opening line to the historical references at the end, Goodbye, Mr. Spalding hit a home run for me. I found myself emotionally attached to the friendship between Jimmie Frank and Lola. I laughed with them, I cried, I was anxious with them, and at one point I found myself talking to Jimmie out loud because he was making me nervous. That is a true testament to the writing skills of Jennifer Barr. Her words made me feel. Even though I knew the historical outcome long before reading the ...more
Hallee Adelman
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a heartwarming, coming-of-age story about a young boy trying to fight against losing his rooftop baseball view (and his family’s income) at the time when Connie Mack decide to build a wall at Shibe Park. Barr does a beautiful job crafting characters, making us not also root for the mc Jimmy, but also fall in love with his best friend Lola. The perfect read for all kids and classrooms who want to read about growing up, accepting change, and repairing friendships. Five stars for ...more
Anthony Rosato
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. There's a great pace to the narrative, a lot of energy and the novel features two winning protagonists who you can really root for. However, I think what I liked best is the local flavor and learning about the A's. The Philadelphia A's had such an interesting history from winning multiple World Series to selling off their star players and being awful. The Shibe Park "spite wall" story is completely true! If you have a child who loves baseball--or ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good-bye, Mr. Spalding is a fascinating look at a chapter of Philadelphia, baseball, and US history, with an appealing main character and so much convincing period detail. This is a WONDERFUL book for a reluctant reader (about a third of a way in I texted a friend whose ADHD son loves baseball and refuses to read novels) or anyone who loves historical fiction. It's also a great book about growing up and how we learn to make difficult decisions, with a good mix of convincing baddies and true ...more
Karen Earp
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heard about this book on the Kid Lit These Days podcast and when it crossed my desk at work i snatched it up. It's a fictionalized story of a young boy in Philly in the early 30s with a crazy love of baseball. The setting was real, as were the events that moved the story along. I love a sweet bit of fiction set on top of real historic events. It's all about learning something without realizing you're learning.
Melody Kenney
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a good book for intermediate level readers. I loved how Barr incorporated baseball history in Philadelphia in this historical fiction story, including photos and information about the real story behind it. Baseball fans will like it and I believe it will have an appeal to boys in specific (boy protagonist).
D Gale
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I liked this book because it showed friendship. The reason is that Jimmy told Lola that he didn't want her be his friend but he came to his senses and apologized to her. And they became friends because of rule #12 Lola and Jimmy will always be best friends forever no matter what happens.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
enjoyed this coming of age book about history, friendship and baseball. I would recommend it to middle schoolers even non sport fans. It definitely illustrates the importance of family and friendship and the strength of neighborhoods which unfortunately is not as common for children as it apparently used to be. It is an illustration of it takes a village!
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Historical fiction based in Philadelphia in 1934 when the owner of the Athletics baseball team decided to build a wall that would prevent people from watching games from the rooftops of the houses across the street from the stadium and the impact that decision had on the community during the depression.
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No, I am not in middle school. I am not a huge baseball fan. But I have to tell you that I LOVED THIS BOOK! I may not be in the demographic for the book, but it doesn’t matter. Damned, it was great! J
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book takes you back in time. The good times, the bad times. So nice to see and solid relationship between a young boy and a girl. I'm not a baseball person at all but, this book was endearing and I loved it.
Jessica Kulekjian
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My 10 year old said this was the best book he's ever read. He was actually disappointed that he read it so quickly and couldn't pickup another book for days after because he said, "It won't be as good!"
Jennifer Reid
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was well-written and entertaining! It's a sweet coming-of-age story which is always a winner for me. The "history lesson" was an added bonus for my young readers who enjoyed the adventure aspect. I particularly liked Lola's spunk! Looking forward to other book by Barr--maybe a sequel?!
Sara Stenhaug
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-2021-mhl
Delightful book giving a bit of a history lesson on baseball as well as a realistic view of what life was like in the 1930's in Philadelphia. Well written!
Becky Schofield
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful sweet historic fiction
Tammy Higgins
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a school librarian and former middle-level English teacher, I am always happy to find books with wide appeal for many students. Goodbye, Mr. Spalding, by Jennifer Robin Barr hits it out of the park. It is a book about baseball, without feeling like just a “sports book.” It is a book deftly set during the Great Depression without feeling like a “historical period book.” Barr creates a coming-of-age story that is at once familiar and yet fresh. It is great to have a middle grade best friend ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars for this historical account of the 1934 decision to build a wall at Shribe Park in Philadelphia
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