HW Assignment: Book Blog Entry 1 – We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson

We Are the Ship Title: We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
Author: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Jump At The Sun
Publication Date: January 8, 2008
Age Range: 8-12 years
Lexile Reading Level:

We Are the Ship is a book about the history Negro League Baseball and how it fits in with the overall history of Major League Baseball. The author goes into detail about specific teams and players. Using realistic illustrations, the author is able to hit home the fact that this book is about real people and real baseball players. The book is divided into ten different sections–nine innings plus extra innings–and it is narrated by the collective voice of all those who played Negro League Baseball.

The foreword is written by Hank Aaron (a Negro/Major League Baseball player) which lends credibility to the book as a whole. Hank Aaron was around when some of the events detailed in the book happened. The book also includes end notes, a bibliography, and an index. Overall, the book seems to be historically accurate and those with doubts can look into the author’s sources. While the content is sound, the tone of the book is oddly upbeat and doesn’t seem to give heavy topics enough weight. The included illustrations are strikingly realistic and showcase each of the highlighted players as individuals. However, not all illustrations are historically accurate and the author explains about the artistic licenses he took with the illustrations in an author’s note at the end of the book.

Overall, this book would be a great read for any youth who are interested in the history of baseball. While many are probably familiar with the names Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, less will recognize the names Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. In addition, this book is also a good resource for introducing the topic of racism to younger children in a way that they may be able to process better.


2 thoughts on “HW Assignment: Book Blog Entry 1 – We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson

  1. Ashley,

    This is an interesting topic. I don’t know a lot about the Negro Baseball League, and I would guess that most students haven’t either. When you say the illustrations are inaccurate, what do you mean? They were not drawn from a photograph? Or they have historical inaccuracies?

    I like the book is broken into 10 chapters to mirror the structure of a baseball game. That is a thoughtful choice that will appeal to students who enjoy baseball. This book might appeal to reluctant readers, especially boys who already have an interest and are familiar with baseball. As Dr. Lamb stated: “How do you get reluctant readers to start reading? You need a hook. Something, anything that will get them to start” (Lamb, 2016). Hopefully the fact that the book is about baseball would be the hook that will draw them in.

    I found a website that could accompany this book: http://www.42explore2.com/blkleag.htm
    This website features links to websites for teachers and students, activities for students, and a collection of key words.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kayla, Thanks for the comment! That website looks awesome and like it has a lot of good resources for kids interested in learning more about the Negro Leagues. I personally couldn’t tell the difference with the illustrations, but the author is very transparent in his author’s notes. For example, one of the illustrations features a player who played right field in center field (or something like that) he explained that he chose to put the player in another part of the field for artistic effect. Another example is that he couldn’t find descriptions for all uniforms, so he had to create some or change the colors here or there–that kind of thing. I liked that he was very upfront about these inaccuracies though.


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