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about the book




Jeremiah Lopper was abandoned when he was an infant. Then he caught a virus that weakened his heart. Now 12, Jeremiah has to have a heart transplant, an operation that leaves him too weak to play baseball, his absolute favorite sport.

Despite this hard blow, Jeremiah is resilient. If he can’t play, then perhaps he can coach! Just such an opportunity arises in the new town he and his adoptive father, Walt, have moved to: Hillcrest used to be known for its championship baseball team, but Jeremiah arrives to find the town caught in a scandal that has devastated both the high school and middle school baseball teams. The community is depressed, and they may never have a baseball team again.

Jeremiah won’t let that happen! With his infectious, can-do attitude, Jeremiah decides to become the middle school team’s coach—even though he is so young—and get the team and the town back in the game!

teachingbooks-bookabout the author

Joan Bauer

In her novels, Joan Bauer has always tried to explore the more difficult parts of life with humor and hope.

Joan was born at the “reasonable time” of 11:00 AM, says her mother. She had hiccups and her head was so small that she seemed to have no forehead at all. She grew up in River Forest, Illinois, in the 1950s, and remembers loving funny things. She envied people who could make other people laugh, like her mother—a high school English teacher—and her grandmother, who was a professional storyteller.

Throughout her childhood Joan kept a diary, played the flute, taught herself guitar, and wrote folk songs. She also read as much as a child could possibly read while still engaging in these other activities. The River Forest Public Library’s old green leather chairs were her sanctuary.

In her twenties she worked in sales and advertising for Parade magazine, McGraw-Hill, the Chicago Tribune, and WLS Radio. One time on vacation she met her husband, Evan. He asked her to dance. She said no. Five months later they got married. Shortly after that Joan turned to writing professionally full-time, but it wasn’t until she was in a serious car accident and in need of neurosurgery that she turned to writing young adult novels. Her first book, Squashed, was about her recovery from the car accident.

Throughout her recovery she realized how laughter can be very good medicine and now if she is writing a story and laughing to herself, she knows she is on the right track.

Author website
Author interview: Mackin
Author video interview

Also by Joan Bauer:
Tell Me. Viking Juvenile. 2014.
Almost Home. Viking Juvenile. 2012.
Close to Famous. Viking Juvenile. 2011.
Sticks. Speak. 2005.

teachingbooks-authorread more!



Plunked by Michael Northrop
When Jack accidentally gets hit in the head—not once, but twice—at the beginning of baseball season, he becomes nervous about continuing to play. With a mild concussion due to the hits, Jack seriously considers whether or not giving up the game is the best and safest choice for him as a person and athlete.




six innings


Six Innings : A Game in the Life by James Preller
It’s the big game in the Little League championships, between Northeast Gas & Electric and the underdogs from Earl Grubb’s Pool Supplies. From the first throw to the final out, follow the secret dreams and biggest fears of each of the team members, including Sam, who must leave the ball handling to others because he has bone cancer.





Sticks by Joan Bauer
Mickey’s dream is to win the Pool Hall Youth tournament held each year in his grandmother’s billiard’s parlor. His dad, who died when Mickey was a baby, was an ace, and Mickey wants to follow in his pa’s footsteps—against his mother’s reservations. But he doesn’t have a chance against bully Buck Pender—that is until his grandmother, his father’s mysterious best friend, and his own math genius buddy get involved.