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Cover image for The home-run king
The home-run king
Publication Information:
New York : Puffin Books, 2009, c2008.
Physical Description:
92 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
Reading Level:
570 L Lexile
Added Author:
Brothers Tank and Jimbo Turner love sneaking into Nashville's Sulphur Dell Ballpark to watch the superstars of Negro League Baseball. When Josh Gibson, the famous home-run hitter, bunks at their house, the boys think they're one step away from heaven.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Paperback book PB J FICTION MCK 1 1

On Order



A historical chapter book series from three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author, Patricia C. McKissack.

Brothers Tank and Jimbo Turner love sneaking into Nashville's Sulphur Dell Ballpark to watch the superstars of Negro League baseball. When Josh Gibson, the famous home-run hitter for the Homestead Grays, bunks at their house, the boys think they're one step away from heaven. With warmth and humor, the fourth installment of Patricia C. McKissack's family saga brings to life an era of all-black baseball for readers who may not know that Major League teams were once restricted only to white players.

"A good child's-eye introduction to baseball's segregated past." -- Booklist

Author Notes

Patricia C. McKissack was born in Smyrna, Tennessee on August 9, 1944. She received a bachelor's degree in English from Tennessee State University in 1964 and a master's degree in early childhood literature and media programming from Webster University in 1975. After college, she worked as a junior high school English teacher and a children's book editor at Concordia Publishing.

Since the 1980's, she and her husband Frederick L. McKissack have written over 100 books together. Most of their titles are biographies with a strong focus on African-American themes for young readers. Their early 1990s biography series, Great African Americans included volumes on Frederick Douglass, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson. Their other works included Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers and Days of Jubilee: The End of Slavery in the United States. Over their 30 years of writing together, the couple won many awards including the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal, a Newbery Honor, nine Coretta Scott King Author and Honor awards, the Jane Addams Peace Award, and the NAACP Image Award for Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman?. In 1998, they received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

She also writes fiction on her own. Her book included Flossie and the Fox, Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt, A Friendship for Today, and Let's Clap, Jump, Sing and Shout; Dance, Spin and Turn It Out! She won the Newberry Honor Book Award and the King Author Award for The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural in 1993 and the Caldecott Medal for Mirandy and Brother Wind. She dead of cardio-respiratory arrest on April 7, 2017 at the age of 72.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Horn Book Review

(Primary, Intermediate) In this, the fourth installment in McKissack's Scraps of Time series, Gee tells her grandchildren the story of a signed Josh Gibson baseball they find in her attic. It's 1937 Nashville in Gee's story. The lives of her baseball-obsessed young cousins Tank and Jimbo get really interesting when the boys' parents rent a room to Josh Gibson, the home-run slugger on the Negro Leagues' Homestead Grays, while the team is playing in Nashville. Though the boys get caught when they try to sneak into a game without paying and have to work on the "chain gang" (cleaning up the stadium after the game), they also get to meet and practice with their hero. Sprinkled into the story are interesting subplots about life in Nashville during the Jim Crow period. The characterization of Apollo, a mentally handicapped boy, adds depth to the story. The timeline and author's note (mostly) clear up what is fictional and what is historically accurate. Readers with a love of baseball will have their appetites whetted by this engaging story and will certainly want to take a look at Kadir Nelson's We Are the Ship and the websites for the Negro League Baseball Museum and the National Baseball Hall of Fame for further stories and records of this fascinating time. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

This book begins like others in McKissack's Scraps of Time series, with the Webster cousins finding a keepsake in their grandmother Gee's attic. In this case, it's a baseball signed by Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige, leading Gee to tell the story of Tank and Jimbo Turner. In 1937 Nashville, Tank and Jimbo love baseball but have no one save each other to play with. When the Homestead Grays come to town, they sneak into the stands to watch their hero, Josh Gibson, play. Even more exciting, though, is when their house becomes a stop on the chitlin' circuit, which provided homes for traveling Negro League players, and Gibson himself stays with them while the team is in town. The two brothers learn much about the game from the great player, and more about life when they discover that pure idolization can lead to troublesome results. Purposeful, yes, but also a good child's-eye introduction to baseball's segregated past. James' steady black-and-white illustrations add a welcome depth.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2009 Booklist

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