The Greatest Story Never Told by Ray Negron is the fourth book I added to our classroom collection as a gift to my students. I love finding picture books about sports and this is one of several of Negron's books about baseball.
In this story, two boys named Skippy and Connor are visted by Batboy Ray, a retired batboy for the Yankees. Skippy and Connor are both facing serious illness (one diabetes and one cancer) and do not like being roommates in the hospital.
Ray takes the boys "back in time" to meet Babe Ruth. Then the Bambino introduces thems to Jackie Robinson playing on Ebbets Field. Throughout the story they meet other baseball heroes Roberto Clemente, George Steinbrenner, and Chien-Ming Want.
This story of friendship and tolerance unfolds as the boys learn about overcoming racism and adversity. It's the illustrations that hold this story together. The interesting mix of characters in the story give students a nudge to investigate whether any of the relationships were authentic in real-life. I could see this book as a way to begin "sorting fact from fiction." Several of my students have already read it and are asking great questions about the story itself.
Oh... and the best part about these gift books... I bought them at the corner drugstore in a bin marked "Four for $20"... can't beat that, eh? Better than cupcakes any day!.