Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff

The Deschutes County Public Library is doing something a little different for this year’s A Novel Idea. For the past five years one book has been selected with the idea being that the entire county will read it, and the book will hopefully generate community discussion and interest. For past choices, see this blog post about last year’s choice, The World to Come. However, this year three books, a memoir, a young adult book, and a children’s book, were chosen.

I started with the young adult novel, Bat 6, simply because it was readily available. This book initially did not sound that interesting to me as the story revolves around a sixth grade girls’ softball game. It is told in turn by both members of rival teams as they gear up for their annual game. This game is unique as it has been played since 1899 and this year, 1949, is the 50th anniversary of that first game. However, with a Japanese-American girl home from the internment camps on one team and a girl whose father was killed during the Pearl Harbor bombings on the other, the game does not go as anticipated.

I found it an interesting book, and, of course, it reminded me of one of my favorite books, Snow Falling on Cedars. I would be curious to know how well this plays to the intended audience. Will sixth graders appreciate the book? The consequences of a simple softball game are pretty serious and extend beyond the team players to the people in the towns involved. A quote from the author on the back page of the book: “Our daily news is filled with children doing horrifying thing, and I’m fascinated by the question: What is it we notice about these kids but decide not to acknowledge?”

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