Tag Archives: shana corey

two baseball picture books

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Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey, illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon (2003).



click image(s) to enlarge

(I know, I’m always talking about Shana Corey‘s historical lady books but this one is another homerun! For real.) Our main character in this case, Katie Casey, isn’t a historical figure. EXCEPT.

1.) Her name is in the lyrics of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”


“Katie Casey was baseball mad.

Had the fever and had it bad;…

On a Saturday her young bea

Called to see if she’d like to go

To see a show, but Miss Kate said…

“No, I’ll tell you what you can do.

 Take me out to the ball game…'”

2.) There used to be an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Yeah, baseball. A la A League of Their Own.

So while Katie Casey isn’t a historical figure, she’s representative of historical women, the ones during World War II who played baseball while the boys fought overseas.




“She preferred home runs to homecoming.” And when boys said, “What good is baseball to a girl?” it didn’t sway Katie from trying out from their team. And then, Mr. Wrigley created one for her and others like her that lasted from 1943-1954. Woo hoo!




I love how the girls and ladies prove the skeptics wrong in their first game. I love the way Shana Corey spins a story. And I love Rebecca Gibbon’s handwriting that plays throughout her lovely, lovely colored pencil drawings.



Thanks to Rebecca Gibbon for images!


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Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno (2012).



art scene from BROTHERS AT BAT

And now we turn to the boys. A whole family of them. The 12 brothers Acerra who all played baseball in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. (They weren’t actually the only all brother team, but they played the longest of any other.)



art scene detail from BROTHERS AT BAT

In 1938, the oldest nine of the brothers started a semi-pro team with their name on it. The next year, the Acerra clan was honored at  the World’s Fair for being the biggest family in New Jersey (there were some girls too). They got to fly in a real, live airplane to go.



art scene from BROTHERS AT BAT

The illustrations capture the vibe of the times, the camaraderie  of brothers, and the feeling of warm days and baseball. Six brothers served in WWII and all six returned home safe. So they could get back to being brothers filling the field.





A sketch.



More process.

photo of Acerra brothers' baseball team (about 1950) New JerseyAnd a photo of the real Accerras. Be sure to check out Steven Salerno’s blog post on the process of art-making for the book, complete with more sketches, photos, and alternate book covers!


Thanks to Steven Salerno for the images! 

here come the girl scouts + merry merit badges




Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey, illustrated by Hadley Hooper.  I’ve confessed my admiration for Shana Corey’s historical women power books before. (Remember how I dressed up like Amelia Bloomer?) This more recent one from 2012 is truly golden too.


It’s the story of Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Law. When she was a girl she had gumption. Like Amelia Bloomer, she wasn’t proper at all. She was adventurous! One of her later adventures was forming the Girl Scouts (modeled after the Boy Scouts in England). She held the first meeting in  Savannah, Georgia in 1912.




The Girl Scouts bridged social class divides. They followed the ten Girl Scouts laws. They camped. They sang. They planted trees. They learned skills. They earned badges. (See what current badges look like here.)



“Every time you show your courage it grows.”




They made a difference. They grew up. They still do. While I was sadly never a Girl Scout myself, this book made me proud anyway. Proud of Daisy Gordon Law. And proud of Girl Scouts.

“You will not have any luck unless you try hard.”







I’m thinking my holiday gifts this year will be merit badges. Heartfelt, funny, honoring, and easily accessorized. Also, they’re merit badges!


I’ve been eyeing the array of merit patches at Disorderly Goods for some time. I mean, “recognition for grow-up feats”? Can I get a whoop?





Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 3.21.33 PM1.) dopamine patch: for believing in love; 2.) surrealist patch: for thinking outside the suit; 3.) big dipper patch: for dreaming big.


Then there are the four honor badges at Best Made Company, awarded for one of four virtues: courage, compassion, grace, and fortitude.






Buy Olympia has a selection of patches too and they’re a hoot. Perfect to celebrate someone’s special quirks.



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And this one from Be Proud on etsy feels near and dear to me. “You’ve earned this merit badge in honour of your special knack for getting back on the horse.” That’s one of my special knacks! Maybe there’s one in the mix of merit badges there that feels near and dear to you or someone you know too.




Finally, if you’re feeling crafty,  Julie Schneider on the etsy blog gives these embroidery directions for making your own custom merit badges. So good!









you forgot your skirt, amelia bloomer! / my DIY historical halloween costume

ameliabloomer I sure like a gal like Amelia Bloomer. She edited the first newspaper for women. She believed women should be allowed to vote. As Shana Corey puts it, for the mid-nineteenth century:


“Amelia Bloomer was NOT

a proper lady.”

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey, illustrated by Chelsey McLaren.



Shocking, I know! Certainly improper were her dress reform ideas. As soon as she discovered a friend of a friend’s alternative to corsets and hoops and gigantic, weighty dresses, she sewed up that alternative herself. And that’s why it was called a bloomer costume. After her.

images courtesy of Scholastic Skirt 01 “Amelia Bloomer was NOT a proper lady.” Skirt 02 “The corsets they wore underneath their dresses were so tight it was hard to breathe in them. Proper ladies were fainting at the drop of a hat. What was proper about that?”   Skirt 03 “And she went right to her sewing machine and sewed a matching outfit for herself. Then she went out for a walk.”

“As soon as it became known that I was wearing the new dress, letters came pouring in upon me by the hundreds from women all over the country making inquiries about the dress and asking for patterns – showing how ready and anxious women were to throw off the burden of long, heavy skirts.”

-Amelia Bloomer herself

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My inspiration mood board

I took some major liberties with my Amelia Bloomers-inspired costume, of course. But thanks to four local thrift stores, I think the idea of an independent 19th century woman wearing bloomers comes through!

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The bloomers are from Ragg Mopp Vintage in my neighborhood and I’m going to keep them around to wear around the house or sleep in. They’re big and flowy and adorable.


The local Goodwill and Out of The Closet had both skirts I found and both period-looking shirts, all for six bucks each.  That short velvet jacket? Six bucks as well and totally wearable again. (It’s actually Ann Taylor LOFT!)


The only bits that are mine are the shoes and knee-highs.


Amelia would never have worn JUST bloomers, but hey, they’re so adorable!


ameliabloomer6The long coat I got at a local vintage/costume shop, Ozzie Dots. If you were so inclined, it could be worn as a Victorian-y fall coat.



Here’s to an historical Halloween ! And gutsy ladies!

photos by Todd Davis @ www.DavisHandmade.com. Screen Shot 2013-09-20 at 5.10.08 PM