I’ll be honest: I don’t know much about baseball, except that it’s a beloved American sport and it involves bases and throwing and catching. Thankfully, many other readers are big baseball fans and enjoy it whether in a fictional tale or as part of their non-fiction reading. If you or your kids are in the baseball-loving camp, this list is just for you! We’ve rounded up 23 of the best middle grade books about baseball. Despite my poor baseball knowledge, I love several of the books on this list, and I know you’ll love many too.
23 Striking Middle Grade Books About Baseball
Here are 23 brilliant middle grade books about baseball:
Out of Left Field
Published: May 1, 2018
Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she’s a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it’s a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy’s game and always has been. It’s not fair, and Katy’s going to fight back. Inspired by what she’s learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she’s not the only girl who plays baseball. With the help of friendly librarians and some tenacious research skills, Katy discovers the forgotten history of female ball players. Why does no one know about them? Where are they now? And how can one ten-year-old change people’s minds about what girls can do?
The Puttermans Are in the House
Published: January 17, 2023
Seventh graders Sammy and Matty are the Putterman twins—the perfect team of two. But Matty has a secret he’s not ready to share with his family yet, and he suddenly quits baseball and stops talking to his sister. With their twin telepathy broken, Sammy doesn’t know what to do without her teammate.
Becky Putterman is sick of her family only cheering for her cousins, Sammy and Matty. They all used to be friends, but since everything became about the twins, Becky’s felt left out. With her bat mitzvah around the corner, she hopes it’ll finally be her turn in the spotlight.
But then Hurricane Harvey hits Houston, Texas, and the twins’ house is damaged in the flood. Their family moves in with Becky’s—which no one is happy about. As their grief, anger, and uncertainty grow, they’ll soon find they need each other now more than ever before. With all nine Puttermans under one roof, can Sammy, Matty, and Becky find a way to glue their family back together?
The Distance to Home
Published: June 28, 2016
Last summer, Quinnen was the star pitcher of her baseball team, the Panthers. They were headed for the championship, and her loudest supporter at every game was her best friend and older sister, Haley.
This summer, everything is different. Haley’s death, at the end of last summer, has left Quinnen and her parents reeling. Without Haley in the stands, Quinnen doesn’t want to play baseball. It seems like nothing can fill the Haley-sized hole in her world. The one glimmer of happiness comes from the Bandits, the local minor-league baseball team. For the first time, Quinnen and her family are hosting one of the players for the season. Without Haley, Quinnen’s not sure it will be any fun, but soon she befriends a few players. With their help, can she make peace with the past and return to the pitcher’s mound?
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies
Published: February 24, 2009
For an eighth grader, Molly Williams has more than her fair share of problems. Her father has just died in a car accident, and her mother has become a withdrawn, quiet version of herself.
Molly doesn’t want to be seen as “Miss Difficulty Overcome”; she wants to make herself known to the kids at school for something other than her father’s death. So she decides to join the baseball team. The boys’ baseball team. Her father taught her how to throw a knuckleball, and Molly hopes it’s enough to impress her coaches as well as her new teammates.
Over the course of one baseball season, Molly must figure out how to redefine her relationships to things she loves, loved, and might love: her mother; her brilliant best friend, Celia; her father; her enigmatic and artistic teammate, Lonnie; and of course, baseball.
Published: December 21, 2021
Jeremiah is the world’s biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he’s told he can’t play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he’ll do the next best thing and become a coach.
Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It’s up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town – and the team – back in the game.
Three Strike Summer
Published: August 30, 2022
When the skies dried up, Gloria thought it was temporary. When the dust storms rolled in, she thought they would pass. But now the bank man’s come to take the family farm, and Pa’s decided to up and move to California in search of work. They’ll pick fruit, he says, until they can save up enough money to buy land of their own again.
There are only three rules at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard:
No stealing product.
No drunkenness or gambling.
And absolutely no organizing.
Well, Gloria Mae Willard isn’t about to organize any peaches, no ma’am. She’s got more on her mind than that. Like the secret, all-boys baseball team she’s desperate to play for, if only they’d give her a chance. Or the way that wages keep going down. The way their company lodgings are dirty and smelly, and everyone seems intent on leaving her out of everything.
But Gloria has never been the type to wait around for permission. If the boys won’t let her play, she’ll find a way to make them. If the people around her are keeping secrets, then she’ll keep a few of her own. And if the boss men at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard say she can’t organize peaches, then by golly she’ll organize a whole ball game.
Baseball Green Series
Published: March 24, 2009
When the school paper calls him “Grant Middle’s best hope for its first-ever city-wide championship,” Josh feels like he’s starting to get noticed—in good and bad ways. Seeing Josh’s talent, his father drags him out of the school baseball tryouts and gets him in the running for the Titans, the local youth championship team coached by Rocky Valentine.
All Josh really wants to do is play ball, but now Rocky wants him to gulp down protein shakes and other supplements. Suspicious, Josh and his new friend, Jaden, uncover a dangerous secret—and catch the attention of one man who will do anything to keep them from exposing it.
Published: September 23, 2014
As a young boy, Derek Jeter dreams of being the shortstop for the New York Yankees. He even imagines himself in the World Series. So when Derek is chosen for the Little League Tigers, he hopes to play shortstop. But on the day of the assignments, Derek Starts at second base. Still, he tries his best while he wishes and dreams of that shortstop spot. And to help him stay focused on school, his parents make him a contract: keep up the grades or no baseball. Derek makes sure he always plays his best game—on and off the baseball field!
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen
Published: February 25, 2020
Vivy Cohen is determined. She’s had enough of playing catch in the park. She’s ready to pitch for a real baseball team.
But Vivy’s mom is worried about Vivy being the only girl on the team, and the only autistic kid. She wants Vivy to forget about pitching, but Vivy won’t give up. When her social skills teacher makes her write a letter to someone, Vivy knows exactly who to choose: her hero, Major League pitcher VJ Capello. Then two amazing things happen: A coach sees Vivy’s amazing knuckleball and invites her to join his team. And VJ starts writing back!
Now Vivy is a full-fledged pitcher, with a catcher as a new best friend and a steady stream of advice from VJ. But when a big accident puts her back on the bench, Vivy has to fight to stay on the team.
Published: September 11, 2018
Noah Savino has been stuck in a wheelchair for months. He hates the way people treat him like he’s helpless now. He’s sick of going to physical therapy, where he isn’t making any progress. He’s tired of not having control over his own body. And he misses playing baseball—but not as much as he misses his dad, who died in the car accident that paralyzed Noah.
Noah is scared he’ll never feel like his old self again. He doesn’t want people to think of him as different for the rest of his life. With the help of family and friends, he’ll have to throw off the mask he’s been hiding behind and face the fears that have kept him on the sidelines if he ever wants to move forward.
Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook
Published: May 9, 2017
If life were a baseball game, all-star pitcher Gabby Garcia would be having her Best. Season. EVER! Until she’s suddenly sent to another school and her winning streak is about to disappear—both on and off the field.
But Gabby never gives up! She has a PLAN to keep her champion status intact, and every step of is written out—PLAY by PLAY. How could it not work?
Published: October 5, 2021
When a boy struggles after moving to a Japanese internment camp during WWII, baseball shows him another way to approach life.
Sandy Saito is a happy boy who reads comic books and is obsessed with baseball — especially the Asahi team, the pride of his Japanese Canadian community. But when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, his life, like that of every other North American of Japanese descent, changes forever. His family is forced to move to a remote internment camp, and his father must spend months away from them. Sandy, his mother and his brother cope as best they can with the difficulties at the camp. Over time, Sandy comes to realize that life is a lot like baseball. It’s about dealing with whatever is thrown at you, however you can. And it’s about finding your way home.
Lupe Wong Won’t Dance
Published: September 8, 2020
Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues.
She’s also championed causes her whole young life. Some worthy.like expanding the options for race on school tests beyond just a few bubbles. And some not so much.like complaining to the BBC about the length between Doctor Who seasons.
Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who’s Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym? Obviously she’s not gonna let that slide.
The Brooklyn Nine
Published: March 5, 2009
1845: Felix Schneider, an immigrant from Germany, cheers the New York Knickerbockers as they play Three-Out, All-Out.
1908: Walter Snider, batboy for the Brooklyn Superbas, arranges a team tryout for a black pitcher by pretending he is Cuban.
1945: Kat Snider of Brooklyn plays for the Grand Rapids Chicks in the All-American Girls Baseball League.
1981: Michael Flint finds himself pitching a perfect game during the Little League season at Prospect Park.
And there are five more Schneiders to meet.
In nine innings, this novel tells the stories of nine successive Schneider kids and their connection to Brooklyn and baseball. As in all family histories and all baseball games, there is glory and heartache, triumph and sacrifice. And it ain’t over till it’s over.
A Long Pitch Home
Published: September 6, 2016
Ten-year-old Bilal liked his life back home in Pakistan. He was a star on his cricket team. But when his father suddenly sends the family to live with their aunt and uncle in America, nothing is familiar. While Bilal tries to keep up with his cousin Jalaal by joining a baseball league and practicing his English, he wonders when his father will join the family in Virginia. Maybe if Bilal can prove himself on the pitcher’s mound, his father will make it to see him play.
But playing baseball means navigating relationships with the guys, and with Jordan, the only girl on the team—the player no one but Bilal wants to be friends with.
The Way Home Looks Now
Published: April 28, 2015
Twelve-year-old Chinese American Peter Lee and his family always shared a passion for baseball, bonding over backlot games and the Pittsburgh Pirates. But when a devastating tragedy strikes, the family flies apart and Peter’s mom becomes paralyzed by grief, drifting further and further from her family.
Hoping to lift his mother’s spirits, Peter decides to try out for Little League. But his plans become suddenly complicated when his strict and serious father volunteers to coach the team. His dad’s unconventional teaching methods rub some of Peter’s teammates the wrong way, and Peter starts to wonder if playing baseball again was the right idea — and if it can even help his family feel less broken. Can the game they all love eventually bring them back together, safe at home?
Published: January 1, 2008
Against the background of major league baseball and the Korean War, Maggie Fortini, who is a diehard Brooklyn Dodgers fan, finds a way to make a difference in the world when her brother Jim is drafted into the army and needs her help. 75,000 first printing.
Published: May 28, 2019
On or off the field, Matt and Ben couldn’t be more different. Ben Roberson is an all-or-nothing player: he’s big, he’s bold, and he’s brash. Ben’s swing can hit a ball right out of the park—but that’s if he can get a hit at all.
Matt Baker is small, and shy, and his stutter has him avoiding the spotlight—even if he’s the best all-rounder on the team. But while Matt knows he’s got the chops, a part of him has always envied “Big Ben” and his attention-grabbing charm.
So it’s a total shock when Ben asks Matt to help him work on his swing. Because Ben can’t put the ball into play, and his showboating comes at the expense of the team. And even though Matt’s trying to help, Ben doesn’t seem to take him seriously, especially when it means toning things down.
The end of the season is fast approaching—is there enough time for Ben to realize bigger isn’t always better? For Matt to understand that sometimes, being the bigger person means standing up for yourself?
Or will they have to accept defeat?
A Rambler Steals Home
Published: February 28, 2017
Garland, Derby, and Triple Clark spend each season traveling highways and byways in their Rambler—until summer, when small-town Ridge Creek, Virginia, calls them back. There they settle in, selling burgers and fries out of Garland’s Grill after each game the Rockskippers play in their battered minor-league baseball stadium. Derby’s summer traditions bring her closer than she’s ever been to a real home that isn’t on wheels, but this time, her return to Ridge Creek reveals unwelcome news. Now the person Derby loves most in town needs her help—and yet finding a way to do so may uncover deeply held stories and secrets.
The Hope of Elephants
Published: September 6, 2022
Cass and her parents haven’t let her dad’s cancer stop them from having a good life—full of love and poems and one annual World Series game. Now that Dad’s cancer is back, Cass overhears the doctor say that she has a 50% chance of inheriting her dad’s genetic mutation, Li-Fraumeni syndrome. There’s a genetic test Cass can take that will tell her for sure. There’s still so much she wants to do—play baseball, study at the zoo, travel the world with her best friend, Jayla. Would it be better not to know?
When it turns out Dad’s cancer is worse this time, Cass is determined to keep up their World Series tradition while navigating all the change and uncertainty that lies ahead.
Poignant and powerful, Cass’s story brings the pains and anxiety linked with illness to the surface, and reminds us that sometimes hope is worth holding on to.
Much Ado About Baseball
Published: June 15, 2021
Twelve-year-old Trish can solve tough math problems and throw a mean fastball. But because of her mom’s new job, she’s now facing a summer trying to make friends all over again in a new town. That isn’t an easy thing to do, and her mom is too busy to notice how miserable she is.
But at her first baseball practice, Trish realizes one of her teammates is Ben, the sixth-grade math prodigy she beat in the spring Math Puzzler Championships. Everyone around them seems to think that with their math talent and love of baseball, it’s only logical that Trish and Ben become friends, but Ben makes it clear he still hasn’t gotten over that loss and can’t stand her. To make matters worse, their team can’t win a single game. But then they meet Rob, an older kid who smacks home runs without breaking a sweat. Rob tells them about his family’s store, which sells unusual snacks that will make them better ballplayers. Trish is dubious, but she’s willing to try almost anything to help the team.
When a mysterious booklet of math puzzles claiming to reveal the “ultimate answer” arrives in her mailbox, Trish and Ben start to get closer and solve the puzzles together. Ben starts getting hits, and their team becomes unstoppable. Trish is happy to keep riding the wave of good luck . . . until they get to a puzzle they can’t solve, with tragic consequences. Can they find the answer to this ultimate puzzle, or will they strike out when it counts the most?
Published: July 28, 2020
Whether they’re on the baseball field or in Nate’s basement devouring the newest issue of their favorite comic book, Dan and Nate are always talking. Until they’re not.
After an accident at baseball practice, Nate’s fallen into a coma. And if Dan ever wants to talk to Nate again, he’s got to take a page out of his hero Captain Nexus’s book, and do whatever it takes to save the day.
But heroes have powers—and without Nate, all Dan has is a closet stuffed with comics and a best-friend-shaped hole in his heart. There’s no way a regular kid can save the day all on his own. Right?
Heart of a Champion
Published: January 1, 1993
When Seth Barham’s best friend, Jimmy, is kicked off the baseball team, Seth must deal with both his feelings toward the fallen hero and the death of his father. By the author of On the Devil’s Court.
There they are: 23 of the best middle grade books about baseball! Which of these books have you read and loved? What did I miss?
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