As a lover of baseball I swung at the chance to join the Betsy’s Day at the Game blog tour. Baseball has been a giant part of my life ever since I use to cry myself to sleep after each loss by my beloved Detroit Tigers (The Tigers lost a lot when I was a kid).
A few of my students read Betsy’s Day at the Game and then came up with a few questions for author Gregory Bancroft.
Gregory’s answers will appear in red.
1. What inspired the idea of Betsy’s Day at the Game ?
I’ve told stories all of my adult life. I’ve loved baseball as long as I can remember. Telling a story about baseball just seemed like a natural connection….but what? What was missing? What would be interesting? I taught my own kids how to keep score at a game, so I wondered if that could be interesting somehow.
2. Can you talk a little bit about your writing process?
I went to bookstores and on line to see what was already out there in terms of baseball books for kids. I talked to parents, grandparents and kids about baseball – what they liked about the game, about going to the park, if they played baseball, fun memories they have about going to games, that sort of thing. It dawned on me that there were no books about scoring, at least not showing people how to score that wasn’t just a “rule book” kind of approach. I began to think about how I could tell others (and illustrate) how to keep score, but to do it in a way that was fun and engaging. It just came to me one day – have a little girl go to the game with her grandfather and illustrate what we have been doing in our family for years. That became an intergenerational story with sweet elements of a relationship between the girl and her grandfather. I wrote several drafts, had 10 and 11 year old girls read and comment, revised and asked again. I then read it to a room full of 11 year old girls and their parents to get their reaction. They clapped! I figured I had a solid piece!
3. I really liked you choice a female protagonist for this story. What made you decide to tell the tale of a girl and her grandfather?
There is something special about a grandparent’s relationship with his or her grandchild. Having a girl as the protagonist, especially in a sports story, was a way of highlighting the fact that girls can be girls and still like sports! Note her long skirt worn with high-top tennis shoes, her ball cap and pigtails, and….I just liked the idea that she’s left-handed!
4. Do you keep score when you go to baseball games?
Yes, of course! I also added the feature of writing short notes about what’s happening in our family, in the margins of the scorebook, as a way of keeping track of our family through the lens of baseball. When I showed the publisher my idea, I demonstrated what I was talking about by showing them one of my scorebooks. It was a game that I had noted the weather that week, what was going on in the world and the fact that our son had announced his engagement to be married to our daughter-in-law!
5. What children’s book did you love as a child?
I loved the Hardy Boys series, Encyclopedia Brown, westerns, that kind of thing. Later, I really liked history and mysteries. I struggled with the classics but am glad that I read them.
6. What book recommendations do you have for today’s young readers?
Read anything (and everything). You may discover a subject that you really find fascinating. Who knows?!? It could lead to what you do for a living as an adult! Challenge yourself with different “voices” – that is, people from different cultures, subjects/topics that might be foreign to you, different types of literature (poetry, history, action, drama, whatever….) and talk to others about what they are reading – what do you like about it, what are you learning about yourself or our world, what makes you go “aha,” that sort of thing….
Big thanks to Gregory for stopping by today. If you want to check out more about Gregory and Betsy’s Day at the Game check out the fine blogs below.
Blog Schedule (provided by Scarletta Press)
Wednesday, April 10
Kick off the tour right here with a guest post from Greg. Are you an aspiring writer? Greg lists “10 Things I Didn’t Know Until I Published My First Book.”
Thursday, April 11
Greg chats with fellow writer Kurtis Scaletta about baseball, keeping score, the book, and much more.
Friday, April 12
Teach with Picture Books will be posting a review and also the first giveaway of the tour!
Monday, April 15
For all of you who haven’t gotten a chance to read the book yet, Kid Lit Reviews will be posting an excerpt.
Tuesday, April 16
There’s a Book will tell us what they thought of Betsy’s Day at the Game and give you another chance to win a free copy of the book.
Teacher Colby Sharp (Sharpread) will have his 4th grade class interview Greg.
Wednesday, April 17
Head back to Kid Lit Reviews to hear their opinion on the book.
Thursday, April 18
Wendy Lawrence over at The Family That Reads Together will be featuring the book and having a giveaway.
Friday, April 19
And finally, end the tour with a stop at Chat With Vera. She will be posting the last review and also the final giveaway of the tour.