Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Meeting Wrap-Up

The Book Buddies Book Club met yesterday afternoon to discuss our April book, King of the Mound by Wes Tooke.  We had a terrific discussion followed by a couple of baseball-themed activities.

We began with our lightning trivia round in which everyone did very well remembering the details of the story.  Following that we spent a few minutes going over some background details to help us gain a greater understanding of the historically true aspects of the book.  I wanted to make sure everyone understood what Polio is, the disease that Nick suffers from in the story.  I found a terrific website to help us with a basic understanding of the symptoms and its status today.  From there we briefly discussed the history of baseball and the negro baseball leagues, including Jackie Robinson's break into Major League Baseball and what became of the great pitcher, Satchel Paige.

We started our discussion of King of the Mound by talking about Nick and his relationship with his father.  Nick's dad isn't very nice to him throughout the story, calling him a "cripple" and telling him that he is a "fool" for thinking he'll ever pitch again.  We couldn't really understand a parent being so mean to their child but thought that their relationship did grow a little bit by the end of the book when he's dad came out to see him pitch again for the first time since his hospital stay.

We talked about Nick's job working for Mr. Churchill, the nickname he's given by Satch (hopalong) and his friendship with Emma.  We all appreciated how much Emma supported Nick in his baseball dream, building a pitching mound for him and encouraging him to get back with his old teammates,

We were shocked by the racism that was so prevalent in 1935 and that the African-American baseball players were not allowed to sleep in the hotel when the team traveled to McPherson, Kansas.  We all thought that Nick and his dad did the right thing by sleeping in the cornfield with the African-American players because it demonstrated that they are a team and should be treated equally.

Nick often felt that it was hard to understand the actions and motivations of the adults in his life and in the world and we agreed that sometimes it can be hard to see why adults make the decisions they do. 

Many of us did not realize right away when they were reading that King of the Mound is actually historical fiction, set in 1935.  It wasn't until some of the details emerged (especially the cost of things and how much baseball players were paid) and the segregation and racism became apparent that we knew we were not reading a book set in present day. 

We all really enjoyed King of the Mound and would definitely recommend it to our friends.  As one club member put it, "it's not your average baseball book - it's better."

Following our discussion we did a baseball word search and made baseball key chains.

We had a great time and I thank all the Book Buddies members who attended for coming!

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