Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team is a picture book that tells the true-life story of the Acerra brothers, America's longest-running all-brothers baseball team. The brothers, who were honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, are portrayed as devoted teammates, family members, and patriots; the team only stops playing when six of the brothers join the military during World War II. Through the story and Steven Salerno's vintage-style illustrations, readers will learn about gender roles and historical events during the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. One upsetting incident occurs: A brother is hit in the face by a pitch and loses an eye, but he's later shown back behind the plate as a catcher with an eye patch. An author's note at the end of the book updates readers on some of the Acerras, who continue to display the values of generosity and citizenship that they exemplified as young men.
What's the story?
BROTHERS AT BAT: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING ALL-BROTHER BASEBALL TEAM tells the story of the Acerra brothers, who played on a baseball team together as children and young adults. The story begins in the 1920s; the boys progress from backyard games to high school team sports, and then to semi-professional ball in 1938, when the oldest nine brothers formed a touring team. Along the way, the brothers display exemplary teamwork and good sportsmanship. In 1939, the Acerras appear at the World's Fair in New York, where they're honored as New Jersey's biggest family. Later, Albert Acerra is hit in the face with a pitch during a game and loses an eye. All of Albert's brothers work with him slowly until he acclimates to playing with his eye patch. Then, in the '40s, baseball play is interrupted when six of the Acerra brothers join the military. After World War II, all of the brothers return home safely and go on to play baseball for several more years, this time with one of the oldest brothers coaching. The Acerras play their last game as a team in 1952. They're honored as the longest-running all-brother team by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. An author's note at the end of the book explains how author Audrey Vernick met two of the brothers and learned about their lives.
Is it any good?
Brothers at Bat is a charming, inspiring family history that will fascinate young baseball fans. The story and vintage-style illustrations of a dozen brothers sleeping two to a bed, forming a team, and going off to war together sets this unique story in its period, so history lovers will enjoy the book as well. Most important, the Acerras exemplify real "family values" of kindness, citizenship, and good sportsmanship, which will encourage youngsters to be kinder siblings and better teammates.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about team sports. What does it mean to be a "good sport"?
Brothers at Bat says that when the Acerra brothers were playing baseball, people thought sports were for boys. How can you tell that has changed by the end of the book?
Check out one of the movies from our list of the Best Baseball Movies for kids.