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We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball Hardcover – Picture Book, January 8, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 435 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Award-winning illustrator and first-time author Nelson’s history of the Negro Leagues, told from the vantage point of an unnamed narrator, reads like an old-timer regaling his grandchildren with tales of baseball greats Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and others who forged the path toward breaking the race barrier before Jackie Robinson made his historic debut. The narrative showcases the pride and comradery of the Negro Leagues, celebrates triumphing on one’s own terms and embracing adversity, even as it clearly shows the “us” and “them” mentality bred by segregation. If the story is the pitch, though, it’s the artwork that blasts the book into the stands. Nelson often works from a straight-on vantage point, as if the players took time out of the action to peer at the viewer from history, eyes leveled and challenging, before turning back to the field of play. With enormous blue skies and jam-packed grandstands backing them, these players look like the giants they are. The stories and artwork are a tribute to the spirit of the Negro Leaguers, who were much more than also-rans and deserve a more prominent place on baseball’s history shelves. For students and fans (and those even older than the suggested grade level), this is the book to accomplish just that. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman

Review

"Nelson continues to top himself with each new book...Along with being absolutely riveted by the art, readers will come away with a good picture of the Negro Leaguers' distinctive style of play, as well as an idea of how their excellence challenged the racial attitudes of both their sport and their times."―Kirkus Reviews

"Easygoing, conversational storytelling is exactly what Kadir Nelson achieves in this pitch-perfect history of Negro League Baseball....His grand slam, though, is the art: Nelson's oil paintings have a steely dignity, and his from-the-ground perspectives make the players look larger than life."―
The Horn Book

"The stories and artwork contained here are a tribute to the spirit of the Negro Leaguers who created much more than an also-ran and deserve a more prominent place on baseball's history shelves. For students and fans (and those even older than the suggested grade level), this is the book to accomplish just that."―
Booklist

"Adopting the perspective and voice of an elderly ballplayer, [Nelson] offers a readable account that is infused with an air of nostalgic oral history....Nelson's brilliant, almost iconic paintings vividly complement his account.... An engaging tribute that should resonate with a wide audience and delight baseball fans of all ages."―
School Library Journal

"Through text and artwork that pulses with life, Nelson has created a book that brings personality to the Negro Baseball League... One need not be a baseball fan to enjoy this book, because it's more than a sports story. It's a story of real people enduring more than many of us can imagine, playing a game they love."―
Library Media Connection

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 96 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0786808322
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1437969535
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 - 12 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 900L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 3 - 7
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.8 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 11.5 x 0.5 x 11.33 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 435 ratings

About the author

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Kadir Nelson is a two-time Caldecott Honor Award recipient. He has received an NAACP Image Award, a CASEY Award, the 2009 and 2014 Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award. Among Mr. Nelson's other awards are gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and The New Yorker. He lives in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Kadir Nelson at www.kadirnelson.com.

Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
435 global ratings
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3 star
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Top reviews from the United States

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Top reviews from other countries

dominicandr
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing..!!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 1, 2016
TR
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book about baseball history
Reviewed in Germany 🇩🇪 on February 16, 2021
James Jarvis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on August 23, 2018