Written by Audrey Vernick
Illustrated by Steven Salerno
Published by Clarion, 2012
2014-2015 Winner - Picture Book for Older Readers
New Jersey. Baseball. Brothers. What do all three of these have in common?
They describe the Acerra brothers, the all-brother baseball team who played from the 1930s through the 1950s. Brothers at Bat is the true story of a family of 12 brothers, from a family of 16 children, who made history by being the longest playing all-brother baseball team.
In 1938, with their father as coach, the oldest nine brothers formed the their first semi-pro team and played against other New Jersey teams. At that time the ages ranged from 13-32. The Acerra brothers helped and encouraged each other throughout their careers. According to the story, they all stuck together. Even through hardships including a world war and great distances between them, they managed to overcome any obstacle thrown their way.
The book’s illustrations are vintage-looking. Salerno’s style is similar to the illustrations found in such stories as Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, or from the 1930s.
Meet the Author
Audrey Vernick is the author of both fiction and nonfiction books for all ages. She grew up in Whitestone, New York and has always loved to read. Harriet the Spy continues to be one of her favorite books.
Audrey did not always want to be an author. She developed a love of writing while in college and has been writing ever since. She has received the New Jersey Arts Council’s fiction fellowship twice. Audrey currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.
For more information, see:
Meet the Illustrator
Steven Salerno is originally from Vermont, but currently lives in New York City. He is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design and has illustrated over 20 children’s books including Brothers at Bat which was named Notable Picture Book of the Year by The New York Times Review. In addition to illustrating children’s literature, Salerno’s work includes magazines, newspapers, web pages, retail, and online advertising. His work has been recognized by many organizations such as The Junior Library Guild, The Art Director’s Club, and the Society of Illustrators.
For more information, see:
- Inform students they will be reading a book about baseball. Create a series of statements related to baseball, families, and the 1930s. Have students complete the statement chart either individually or as a class. Then have students make predictions based on their answers to what the story will be about. Do not show or tell the students the title. Keep these and revisit answers after reading book.
- Make a list of activities that require teamwork. Discuss how working together with someone either helps or hinders an activity or solving a problem. Are there times when working independently is better? Why or why not?
- Create a KWL chart on what students know about the Baseball Hall of Fame. What character traits does it take to be successful and get into the BHOF?
- Would you like to play on a team with your family members? What would be the advantages/disadvantages of playing with family members?
Hubbard, Crystal. Catching the Moon: The Story of A Young Girl's Baseball Dream. Lee & Low Books (2005)
Meshon, Aaron. Take Me Out to the Yakyu. Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2013)
Meyers, Water D. Down to the Last Out The Journal of Biddy Owens: the Negro Leagues. Scholastic (2013)
Park, Linda S. Keeping Score. Sandpiper (2008)
Robinson, Sharon. Testing the Ice: A True Story about Jackie Robinson. Scholastic Press (2009)
Skead, Robert. Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe DiMaggio. Carolrhoda Books (2013)
Winter, Jonah. Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Aladdin Paperbacks (2008)
For more information, please check the 2014-2015 Resource Guide - Picture Books for Older Readers.