Written by Joan Bauer

Publisher’s Summary:
Jeremiah is the world’s biggest baseball fan. He really loves baseball and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he’s told he can’t play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he’ll do the next best thing and become a coach.

Hillcrest, where Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved, is a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It’s up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town – and the team – back in the game.

Primary Source Pairing:
For a book that is so heartwarming, it is only right to pair this book with a picture of a heart. Jeremiah has a heart condition called cardiomyopathy which required a heart transplant. Since the transplant, Jeremiah has progressively gotten stronger but not strong enough to play baseball. This doesn’t stop Jeremiah from living and breathing baseball every minute of every day. For this primary source pairing, invite students to compare the differences between a healthy heart and a heart with cardiomyopathy. Let the comparison begin the discussion about Jeremiah and whether his physically weak heart defines him.

Additionally, the Library of Congress has curated a primary source set for educators to use focusing on baseball. This set of materials includes “song sheets, video clips, images, trading cards, and photographs [that] tell the story of how baseball emerged as the American national pastime. Featured primary source items show Americans from different backgrounds and social experiences embracing the sport” Use these materials for a book group, to book talk the book, or for an engaging book display.

Questions for Discussion:

  • What do you notice first?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • What can you learn from examining this?
  • What do you still wonder about?
  • Read pages 124-125 and discuss the types of hearts mentioned in the text. How does the diagram above relate to what Franny says about Jeremiah’s strong heart?

Text Excerpt:

“I miss playing,” I tell her.
She nods. “But you don’t have a weak heart, Jeremiah.
“I had to have an operation and –”
Franny shakes her head. “I mean the other kind of heart. That one in you is strong.”
You don’t know what you just said to me, Franny.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Heart Diagram: Wikimedia Commons
Baseball Primary Source Set: Library of Congress