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Let Them Play

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Segregated Charleston, SC, 1955

There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina — all but one of the leagues is composed entirely of white players. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars, an all-black team, is formed in the hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament. What should have been a time of enjoyment, however, turns sour when all of th
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Sleeping Bear Press (first published June 1st 2005)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  112 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Ivan Rainey
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Review: This is a story about a Little League team named the Cannon Street All Stars. They are the lone black team in South Carolina, the only team with black players on it as well. With the information of this team spreading the white teams chose to pull out of the league and now South Carolina has 1 team left, Cannon Street. Winning the state title by default they are invited to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. But, they can not play because they have yet to play an actual game ...more
RLL22017 Flora Zayas
Author Raven and illustrator Ellison work together to tell the story of 14 All-Star (baseball) Players on their journey to Williamsport for the Little League World Series Championship. A time when the desire to play baseball was "rising high as heat waves," players like Jackie Robinson became role models for black children. However, this was during 1955- a time of segregation and injustice. Nevertheless, the children's parents did their best to shelter them from the hate and pessimisitic attitud ...more
Jordan Pierre
I liked this book for three reasons. The first reason that I liked this book is because it pushed the reader to see a different perspective. It showed the reader how even though Jackie Robinson was playing in the MLB and proved that Black athletes were good athletes, they still weren’t allowed to compete against White athletes. This book shows how the community, not only the 14 boys on the team, prepared for them to go to play in a Little League with White teams and how they prepare to head to t ...more
Evan Teter
This book is about a little league baseball team in the south during the mid-1950s. They were not given a fair chance to compete, though since all teams in their league forfeited, they were able to make it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. However, they were told that they would not be allowed to compete in games, but they could take infield practice before one of the games. Although this must have been very disappointing to the players and coaches, they made the m ...more
Megan Wilks
Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven is written about an African American Little League Baseball Team that is playing during the time of Jackie Robinson. All of the boys have this dream of winning the Little League World's Series and their coach as a dream of getting there. When they are finally able to qualify, they make it but the league made a rule against them. Still they are honored at the Championship but the team is discouraged because there are racists comments. This book is a non-fiction ...more
Niquilla Blodgett
"Let Them Play" re-accounts the summer of 1955 in South Carolina where a colored all star team was refused by the rest of the white teams to let them play the sport they all loved, baseball. The team eventually takes the trip to the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania as guests but they were not allowed to play. The crowd shouts for them as they take the field for a warm up experience "let them play". This book is great to introduce the historical topic of segregation to the age range of ...more
Abby Williams
This picture book circles around Jim Crow laws and how they impact the culture of baseball around the country. It is a great book about sports that also teaches a good lesson about our countries history in the south. I would recommend this book to any younger children interested in sports in grades 3rd and 4th.
Tonya Shaw
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story of the Cannon Street All-Stars who faced adversity when they tried to play in the Little League World Series in 1955. Segregation and prejudice are highlighted in a way that younger students can understand and process.
Christopher Johnston
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Middle Grades (4-6)
This is a scary crazy story. I felt so sad to read about it, but I can imagine something like that happening today. There is such an isolation in kids sports of people of different colors (black/white) that it seems possible still.
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is are really interesting book about an African American team and their dream to play in the Little League World series. It is based on true events! It was so good and talking about discrimination in sports.
Mackenzie Putvin
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love softball so it was easy to connect to this book
Sarah Holland
Feb 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction: "Let Them Play" is a historical account of a time when a Little League team from segregated South Carolina was banned from participating in the Little League Baseball World Series. It is a different spin on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s in that it touches on individuals that would be the age of the students, as well as a sport/hobby enjoyed by the students. Lesser known activists are introduced, which is refreshing. Additionally, the watercolor illustrations a ...more
Michelle Biamonte
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven is based on a true story. This book is filled with emotion and set in South in 1955, during segregation times when African Americans are fighting for civil rights. The focus is on an All Black YMCA youth baseball team, The Cannon Street All Stars. The Cannon Street team become the local winners by default, because the surrounding teams were composed of all white players, and who refused to play the YMCA black league. The team comes face to face with inequality ...more
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Audience: Grades K-4, readers interested in baseball and its history, readers interested in civil rights history, boys who play baseball, history/social studies teachers.

Appeal: This book is a fairly easy read for young and intermediate readers. The pictures are a great addition to the text. The story is quick moving but gets the point across. Readers who enjoy baseball and the history behind the Little League World Series will enjoy the true story of a team making history without playing in the
Sandy Brehl
A team of African America boys defied the odds and rode the support of their community to become the best Little League team in South Carolina in the summer of 1955. The Canon Street boys could not be declared the South Carolina State Champions or even compete in the finals because every other team refused to play them. In an exhibition game they overwhelmed the other team, but went home without a trophy or an opportunity to prove themselves on a level playing field. The epilogue includes a repo ...more
May 17, 2014 rated it liked it
As our first picture book on this topic and actually about baseball I found myself having to give a lot of additional information so my daughter would understand better. She is a bit young for this particular book, an older child would likely understand the appeal of baseball to young boys and have some understanding of the way life might have been when you couldn't just drink from any ol water fountain. Still I'm glad we read it although until the moment of the water fountain page and an explan ...more
A beautifully illustrated book which tells a compelling and true story about discrimination in the 1950's. I generally like picture books which are written for older readers and this one is no exception. Kids will relate to it because of the Little League plot, and will hopefully walk away with a better understanding of prejudice and its effects. A drawing at the end of the characters as they look now was a very nice touch. A good read-aloud choice to introduce civil rights themes in a way that ...more
Judi Paradis
Dec 19, 2009 rated it liked it
In 1955, Jackie Robinson became the first black baseball player in the major leagues, and an all-Black Little League team in South Carolina made the state championship playoffs. But when all the white teams refused to play them (and started their own league), the South Carolina champions won by default and were not allowed to play in the Little League World Series that year. This story seems unbelievable now--but just 50 years ago, this was life for Black kids in America. A fascinating look at h ...more
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The true story of the 1955 Cannon Street All Stars, an all black little league team who was boycotted out of the South Carolina championships. They were unable to compete at the national Little League Championships, but were eventually recognized (in 2002) for their achievement. This is a story that will (hopefully) make you cry, and inspire you. This would be a good book for a baseball storytime, but be prepared for the discussion!
Cheryl Kays
This is story about a young baseball team that wants to participate in the little league world series. However, because the team consists of all African Americans they are not allowed to play. This story discusses the issues of segregation and how people worked together to fight this war of unequal opportunities. I would recommend this book for 3rd grade and up.
Marissa Morrison
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
The author makes Civil Rights history come alive in this detailed story about the 1955 South Carolina Little League champs. They were only allowed on the World Series field for a brief warm-up because no white team would play against them.
Jul 01, 2009 added it
Shelves: jaros
JAR5OS-Rav even Little Leagues had racial problems 1955
Nick Cherry
This book would be great to use during Black History Month. Very informational with nice illustrations.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A very good book for kids. This story is very well written and covers the topic of discrimination very well. What a great book for some great learning and discussions.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! It is a good one that boys would be into. Themes: Equality and Tolerance.
Bethany Livengood
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
A good story line about racism and playing baseball. This book would work as a read aloud and would spark great conversation among students/children.
Great book to read during Civil Rights unit. May capture the interests of students interested in sports. Also the recipient of the Coretta Scott King award.
Shayne Cope
Very interesting and fantastic in portraying segregation. Could easily be used for children to learn about civil rights and empathy.
An inspirational true story that provides many opportunities for discussion.
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: baby-children
It was a little long and too deep for my six year old. If my boys were more into baseball then we'd probably like it more. ...more
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