If you're an Instagram follower of mine, you are probably aware why this article is being posted now and you knew it was coming. For everybody else, let me give you the quick run down.
I had long planned to dedicate the Favorite Book Friday spot falling just before Mother's Day to Mama Played Baseball by David A. Adler. I thought it was a perfect selection, showing that mothers will do anything to support their families and provide for their children. It was all planned out. And that planning is what cursed my computer to have the various and numerous problems that prevented bringing that plan to fruition.
By the time I was able to regain access to my site, Mother's Day had come and gone. Yes, I was bummed. But life goes on and here we are with a Favorite Book Friday post that is out of schedule and past the time I wanted it published. (Just so ya know, I'll be posting another Favorite Book Friday article next week to keep up with the normal schedule for this series.)
Now that you know the backstory to this article, I'm going to move forward and focus on the book as if none of that craziness ever happened...
*This post contains affiliate links via images. If you click on them and ultimately make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This costs you nothing and helps keep this site running. You can read my full disclosure policy here.*
I've been on a bit of a World War II kick this year. It's attributable to the cooperative class of middle and high schoolers I teach. I've brought that class up numerous times on the site and Instagram. Though I planned for the class to cover American history from prehistoric times until modern day, three sessions were scheduled to learn more about WWII in some way: World War I and how it led to WWII, a class dedicated specifically to WWII, and a follow up class focusing on baseball in America with emphasis on the sport during WWII.
If you're around my age, you're probably familiar with the fact that women played baseball as part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during and after the war years. Why do you likely know this? A League of Their Own came out in 1992. It was huge, and I don't think I know anyone who hasn't seen it or at least knows what it's about.
Though movies can't be trusted to accurately portray history (except for some documentaries), this blockbuster brought to light a bit of information that many had forgotten about or simply never knew--women figuratively and literally stepped up to the plate in this country's time of need.
From seeing that movie as a child, I remember there were mothers who played in the League. One character from the film brought her child along as she traveled to games because she had no other means of childcare. It is this sort of player upon which Mama Played Baseball focuses.
The book tells the story of a little girl's father going off to war and his mother joining the League to earn money while dad is away.
As A League of Their Own isn't what I would call a family-friendly film, this book introduces the topic of women in baseball in a much more suitable manner than what I received as a child. No hyper-sexual Madonna, no drunken Tom Hanks peeing for what seems like 10 minutes, no dramatic sibling rivalry subplots--just a clean, very well-illustrated story.
I think this book was a perfect pick for my (intended) Mother's Day post, because most mothers (and women in general) do what it takes. That's part of being a mother. There's a drive, determination, and love that makes mothers get up multiple times in the middle of the night to feed a baby, clean up diarrhea and vomit without losing it when all the kids have a stomach virus, take on extra jobs when there's seemingly no hours left in the day because money is tight, and forgo buying themselves new underwear (or new anything) so the kids won't go without. It's that same drive, determination, and love that led mothers to go outside of their comfort zones and breach societal expectations to play a man's sport. Mother's do what needs to be done.
Even though times are very much different now than they were in the years surrounding WWII and women play many sports, it was still eye-opening to my children to learn that women had their own baseball league. This, naturally, led to discussions about the broader role women played during war times--Rosie the Riveter, for example--and how war permanently exacts change on any people involved with it, even if they're not directly involved in the fighting.
So, if you're looking to increase your kids knowledge of history and instill something of the meaning of a mother's love, you might consider reading Mama Played Baseball to them. It proved to be quite a conversation piece around here.
Prefer more visually oriented organization? Check out my Pinterest board for all Favorite Book Friday posts.