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A High Five for Glenn Burke

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  322 ratings  ·  86 reviews
A heartfelt and relatable novel from Phil Bildner, weaving the real history of Los Angeles Dodger and Oakland Athletic Glenn Burke--the first professional baseball player to come out as gay--into the story of a middle-school kid learning to be himself.

When sixth grader Silas Wade does a school presentation on former Major Leaguer Glenn Burke, it's more than just a report a
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
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Paul  Hankins
I was seven years old in 1977. I might have collected baseball cards if they were on sale at Kmart and I may have actually had a box of Kmart baseball cards that I mixed with Star Wars cards in order to build elaborate card houses that would take up the living room of our mobile home in northern Michigan.

One of those cards may have been one of Glenn Burke. But I wouldn't have known about Glenn Burke. Would not have seen his contribution to the game (or to our culture at large). Glenn Burke play
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it

“You be you.”

Give me a high five! I found a great, middle grade, coming out story with authentic voices and pitch-perfect baseball action. Plus a little history to explore and Sandlot shout outs galore! “You’re killing me, Smalls!” :) All that and more are right here in A High Five for Glenn Burke.

Sixth grader Silas Wade is all about baseball. He gives it all for his teammates and coaches. His team—the Renegades—means a lot to him. But Silas has a secret weighing him down. He wants to share the
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this one
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How much do I love this book? It's a home run. It's free box seats in the second row behind home plate (first row would be pretentious) at a minor league baseball game on a clear & sunny April day, and your favorite batter has just hit a line drive. But more importantly, how much does my 7 year old baseball-loving son love this book? A GRAND SLAM.

Phil Bildner knows baseball. My boy loves baseball, history, and chapter books. I knew it might be a stretch to read a middle grade book together with
Lynn Plourde
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An important middle grade novel disguised as a baseball book. Silas Wade's voice rings at times strong and at other time scared, but it always rings true. The acknowledgments made me cry. Author Phil Bildner was sharing his own story all mixed up with major leaguer Glenn Burke's and with sixth grader Silas Wade's stories. It was impossible for super-talented Glenn Burke to come out and be accepted as a gay baseball player in the 1970s--he was shunned and banished. It's still incredibly hard for ...more
Eliza  Savage
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
Every child should have the opportunity to live their truth and give and recieve double high fives as Silas Wade does in the magnificent book.

I will be emotional about this book, my love for all of the characters and my support and encouragement of the message for a long time to come.

Phil Bildner has given children a gift beyond words with this book and I hope it does not stop.
Gary Anderson
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All good baseball books are about more than just baseball, but to be credible, the author needs to get the baseball right. In A High Five for Glenn Burke (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2020), author Phil Bildner definitely gets the baseball right.

This is no surprise to those who know Bildner’s body of work that includes many baseball books for young readers. As a New York Mets fan and baseball enthusiast since childhood, Bildner knows the game and effectively conveys the excitement of both on-field play
Laura Gardner
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: projectlit
5 for High Five for Glenn Burke by @philbildner
I think this is now my #1 favorite book about coming out for the middle school audience. Silas is such a fabulous character--he's likable, funny, and oozes authenticity. He loves pranks, is obsessed with YouTube, and is terrified of people figuring out he is gay. Presenting to his ELA class about baseball player Glenn Burke who invented the high five is his way of starting his coming out process, but he leaves out the fact that Glenn Burke was ga
Alex  Baugh
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Twelve-year-old Silas Wade loves baseball. He could play it, talk about, think about it, and probably even dream about it 24/7. And his baseball hero is Glenn Burke, a black major leaguer who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning in 1976 and who, during some tense moments on the final weekend of the 1977 baseball season, invented the high five. Glenn Burke was also gay and when he came out, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1979 and literally harassed out of baseball. Like Glenn, ...more
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(FROM MY BLOG) Silas is twelve years old. He's in sixth grade. He plays center field for his Little League team, the Renegades.

He's an outstanding baseball player, his athletic performance heightened by the total focus and determination he brings to the game. ("... when I'm out in center, it's where hits go to die.") He's the team leader, and the most popular player among his teammates.

Silas has loving parents who are enthusiastic about his playing, without being the stereotypical scary parents
Sally Kruger
I've long been a fan of author Phil Bildner. His latest book A HIGH FIVE FOR GLENN BURKE is a treasure I can't wait to share. Tapping into his own struggle growing up as a gay boy in a world where being his true self was a frightening prospect. Bildner uses Glenn Burke, a gay baseball player in the 1970's, as a springboard for tackling a tough topic.

Silas Wade loves baseball. His favorite movie is The Sandlot, and he shares tidbits from the film whenever he gets a chance. Silas's best friend is
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As the synopsis says: "weaving the real history of Los Angeles Dodger and Oakland Athletic Glenn Burke--the first professional baseball player to come out as gay--into the story of a middle-school kid learning to be himself."
"Me being me" as Silas Wade shows that he knows the challenges throughout this heartfelt story by Phil Bildner are not as easy as they seem. He knows he's gay and while he shows his favorite ELA teacher the story of Glenn Burke being the first one to use a high five, he lea
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it
A lovely middle grade book about being true to yourself and the anxieties that come when you know it might not be safe to share who you are with others. As Silas, the protagonist, decides who he wants to come out to, he's constantly trying to discern what people are reading into what he says and does. Do they know, for example, that his school project about Glenn Burke was not only about Burke's legacy as an African-American professional baseball player and the inventor of the high-five, but als ...more
Laurie Thompson
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit I am not much of a baseball fan, but I am definitely a fan of this book! I was drawn into Silas' world from the first page and eagerly cheered him on until the last. I loved the relatable characters, relationships, and situations--nothing felt too perfect or two-dimensional. Even the most likable characters had their flaws and made mistakes, thus reflecting the messiness of life that we all face in the real world. Still, they each navigated that messiness in an honest yet hopeful ...more
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

While choosing an invention for a class project, Silas decides to do his report on Glenn Burke, the first person to give a high five.

Silas very purposely chose Glenn Burke. Like Silas, Glenn Burke was a baseball player. Also like Silas, Glenn Burke was gay.

Silas has just figured this out for himself, and he hasn’t yet shared this with anyone. He decides to share it with his best friend Zoey, but when Zoey doesn’t resp
Bonnie Grover
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
“You be you. Keep being authentic.” I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this MG novel, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a story Glenn Burke, a Major League Baseball player who invented the high five and was a gay baseball player in the 1970’s. It’s also a story about coming out, “Your coming out... is going to be extraordinary, it’s not going to be easy, but it will be extraordinary.” A powerful novel that delivers a good message, there’s no one way to come out. I hope this book finds a young pers ...more
Cindy Christiansen
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this very authentic feeling novel about Silas and his semi-obsession with Glenn Burke, baseball player, inventor of the high five, and gay man. Silas is gay, too, but it’s a secret. His presentation on Burke is a step toward sharing his truth. He tells a few select people after that but struggles with so much of his decisions. “ drives home the message that there’s no one way to come out — and there’s a place on the field for everyone.”
YAY for Diversity! Yay for #Ownvoices!

Simon is an energetic, baseball-loving protagonist with a big secret. He's a perfect middle-grade hero coming to terms with a lot.
Let's see if you can figure out his secret, who Glenn Burke is and how did High-Five's get invented.
A great read for sports' enthusiast, fans of the Sandlot, and acceptance;
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, middle-grade
Everyone loved the presentation that sixth grader Silas gave on Glenn Burke, the baseball player who invented the high five-- but what he didn't mention is that Glenn Burke was gay, something that Silas has been thinking about a lot. He's the star of his own little league team, and can't help but wonder-- would his friends treat him differently if they knew he was gay, too? This novel is beautiful, simple, and sweet; Bildner scores a home run with his compelling way of recounting overlooked base ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must have for all middle school libraries and classrooms. The story of Silas owning and sharing his truth through the clever use of researching the history of the high five was masterfully crafted by author Phil Bildner. This book hits a homerun with its sensitivity and honest coming out story of a young boy.
Scott Rosenberg
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great and relevant read for today!
Dawn Ferencz
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is sweet and full of hope.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
honestly, there were parts of this that moved me to tears. beyond thrilled that this book exists for the youths.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
LOVED it! Can’t wait to share it with Abby!!!
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, uplifting, and well- written story.
Jennifer Mangler
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grades
I really enjoyed reading this. My favorite parts of the book were the conversations Silas had with his baseball coach. If only every person had someone like Coach Webb in their life.
Heather Jensen
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
High Five to author Phil Bildner for sharing the story of Silas Wade. This is an important book for our young men and women as they explore and discover their identities. The young humans in our LGBTQ community need to find positive stories that they see themselves in. It is vital that they understand that they are not alone.
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was sweet and I think much needed addition to the canon of middle grade/tween lit. Yes it’s a coming out story but it would also be great for baseball fans!
Patricia Murphy
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great Phil Bildner novel. Interlacing the history of 1st baseball player to come out as gay & journey of 6th grader Silas. Relatable. Silas lives for baseball, loves The Sandlot, and has an incredible coach. Powerful story.
I love baseball, gay things, and kid lit. So this was everything I needed and more. A really sweet and sensitive book about being true to yourself and still getting to do what you love.

I wish to DEATH I had a coach like Webb on any of the teams that I was on as a kid and teen. This one struck a big chord.
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Phil Bildner is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous books for kids. His latest book is the groundbreaking, #OwnVoices middle grade novel, A High Five for Glenn Burke. He is the author of many children’s picture books including the Margaret Wise Brown Prize winning Marvelous Cornelius, the Texas Bluebonnet Award winning Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy, Martina & Chrissie, Twenty-One Elepha ...more

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