Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2016) — Commended
Is pretending to be someone else the only way Michiko can fit in?
Michiko Minigawa’s life is nothing but a bad game of baseball. The Canadian government swung the bat once, knocking her family away from a Vancouver home base to an old farmhouse in the Kootenay Mountains. But when they move into town, the government swings the bat again, announcing that all Japanese must now move east of the Rockies or else go to Japan.
Now in Ontario, Michiko once again has to adjust to a whole new kind of life. She is the only Japanese student in her school, and making friends is harder than it was before. When Michiko surprises an older student with her baseball skills and he encourages her to try out for the local team, she gives it a shot. But everyone thinks this new baseball star is a boy. Michiko has to make a decision: quit playing ball (and being harassed), or pitch like she’s never pitched before.
About the author
Jennifer Maruno began her publishing career with award winning educational materials for The Peel District School Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education. She is one of the authors of Explorations, a mathematics program for Addison-Wesley of Canada, and worked with TVO in developing teaching materials for the television show Mathica's Mathshop. For her contributions to educational writing, she received the Federation of Women Teachers Writing Award, the National Council of Teachers Award of Excellence and The Award of Merit from the National School Public Relations Association. She holds a Masters of Education, Principal's and Primary Specialists certification and is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and the Humber School of Writers summer program.Her short stories have appeared in a variety of children's magazines in Great Britain, United States and Canada. Born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jennifer came from a book loving family. She worked as a library helper in the old red brick library on Victoria Avenue while attending Valley Way Public school. Her childhood ambition was to have a book with her name on the spine sitting on the shelf.Her first children's novel, When the Cherry Blossoms Fell won nominations for the Hackmatack and Young Readers of Canada Awards.Educator, researcher and author, Jennifer Maruno knows stories provide much more than entertainment. From the pages of Canadian history, she creates novels empathetic to those who have experienced the darker side of our past. Maruno's understanding of the importance of cultural identity has brought When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, Cherry Blossom Winter and Cherry Blossom Baseball based on the Japanese Internment and Warbird a novel of early Jesuit life among the Huron people.Details of Kid Soldier, Jennifer's fourth novel for children, come from her father's diary. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces under age and set out for England. Enroute Britain declared war. Totem, the story of a boy seeking his identity from the confines of a residential school, was written at a time most necessary to Truth & ReconciliationJennifer lives in Burlington, Ontario with her husband spending her time weeding her David Austin roses, writing and reading to grandchildren.Laurel Keating is an award-winning artist whose illustrations are familiar to Newfoundlanders. With an eye for detail and sympathy for all living things, Laurel brings her characters to life with warmth and humour. Children have delighted in her rich and colourful illustrations in Find Scruncheon and Touton (1 and 2) and Yaffle's Journey and Full Speed Ahead: Errol's Bell Island Adventure. She lives in scenic Portugal Cove, which she has called home all her life.
- Commended, CCBC's Best Books for Kids and Teens (Spring 2016)
A fast-paced, intriguing read. Highly recommended.
Maruno tells an almost uniquely Canadian story as we see how different cultural communities interact, as well as the challenges many first- and second-generation Canadians encounter, issues that are still relevant today.
Canadian Children's Book News
Michiko is endearing, and readers who persevere will rejoice with her victories big and small.
Michiko is a wonderful character trying to find her place in an often racist Canada, obeying her strict but loving parents, supported by cultural traditions and fiercely passionate about baseball.
A historically accurate story about being an outsider, family values and the ability of sports to bring people together.
School Library Journal
Other titles by Jennifer Maruno
While You Sleep
Until Niagara Falls
The Cherry Blossom 3-Book Bundle
When the Cherry Blossoms Fell / Cherry Blossom Winter / Cherry Blossom Baseball
The Cherry Blossom 2-Book Bundle
When the Cherry Blossoms Fell / Cherry Blossom Winter
Cherry Blossom Winter
A Cherry Blossom Book
When the Cherry Blossoms Fell
A Cherry Blossom Book