Let Them Play
by Margot Theis Raven
Segregated Charleston, SC, 1955: There are 62 official Little League programs in South Carolina -- all but one of the leagues is composed entirely of white players. The Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars, an all-black team, is formed in the hopes of playing in the state's annual Little League Tournament. What should have been a time of enjoyment, however, turns sour when all of the other leagues refuse to play against them and even pull out of the program. As the only remaining Little League team in the state, Cannon Street was named state winner by default, giving the boys a legitimate spot in the Little League Baseball World Series held in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. While the Cannon Street team is invited to the game as guests, they are not allowed to participate since they have not officially "played" and won their state's tournament. Let Them Play takes its name from the chant shouted by the spectators who attended the World Series final. Author Margot Theis Raven recounts the inspiring tales of the Cannon Street All-Stars as they arrived in Williamsport, PA and never got the chance to play for the title thanks to the bigotry and ignorance of the South Carolina teams. Winning by forfeit, the Cannon Streeters were subsequently not allowed to participate in Williamsburg because they had not "played" their way into the tournament. Let Them Play is an important civil rights story in American history with an even more important message about equality and tolerance. It's a tale of humanity against the backdrop of America's favorite pastime that's sure to please fans of the sport and mankind. This summer will mark the 50th year since the fans' shouts of Let Them Play fell on deaf ears and 14 boys learned a cruel lesson in backwards politics and prejudice. This book can help teach us a new lesson and assure something like this never happens again.
- Dewey: 796.351999999999
- Graphics: Full-color illustrations
- Hardcover (9781585362608): 32 pages, 9 (w) x 11 (h), © 2005, 06/16/2005
- PDF (9781410308153): 32 pages, 9 (w) x 11 (h), © 2011, 08/18/2011
- Hosted ebook (9781627533775): 32 pages, © 2014, 08/15/2013
- Suggested Interest Level: Age 6 - Age 9
- ATOS Reading Level: 5.2
- ATOS Interest Level: LG
- Accelerated Reader® Quiz: 101491
- Accelerated Reader® Points: 0.5
- NYSRA Suggested Reading List--Primary, Short-listed, 2008
- Nebraska Library Golden Sower Award Shortlist Finalist: Primary K-3, Runner-up, 2008
- SIBA Children's Book Award Finalist, Runner-up, 2007
- Storytelling Award--Pre-Adolescent Category, Winner, 2007
- William Allen White Children's Book Award Finalist: Grades 3-5, Runner-up, 2007
- Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People List, Short-listed, 2006
- CCBC Choices--Historical People, Places and Events Category Cooperative Children's Book Center of the University of Wisconsin, School of Education, Winner, 2006
- Skipping Stones Magazine Honor Award Multicultural and International Awareness category, Winner, 2006
- Independent Publisher's Ten Outstanding Books of the Year List--Honorable Mention in the Most Inspirational to Youth Category, Runner-up, 2006
- Carter G. Woodson Book Award--Elementary Level, Winner, 2006
- Bill Martin Jr. Picture Book Award Finalist, Runner-up, 2006
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Author: Margot Theis Raven
A national award-winning author and speaker, Margot Theis Raven’s long professional career includes writing in the fields of radio, television, magazines, newspapers and children’s books. She has more than 1,000 published articles to her name and nine children’s picture books.
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot, Margot’s first book with Sleeping Bear Press, was a 2003 Children’s Choice award winner from the International Reading Association. Margot’s books bridge generations of readers through the belief that the worst of times can bring out the best in people and are often set against powerful backdrops such as World War II or America’s Civil Rights period.
Illustrator: Chris Ellison
Chris Ellison received his formal art training at the Harris School of Art in Franklin, Tennessee, and then later at the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He has illustrated both children’s picture books and adult historical fiction for nearly 20 years. Chris has illustrated several books for Sleeping Bear Press including M is for Mom: A Child’s Alphabet; The Lucky Star, Rudy Rides the Rails, Pappy’s Handkerchief, a 2007 Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year. His first book with Sleeping Bear Press, Let Them Play, was named a 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Chris lives in Petal, Mississippi, with his wife, Lesley, and two young sons.