Amira Can Catch!

“Amira is from Syria. A new girl in Mrs. Mayer’s class, Amira needs to get acquainted with her American environs. Nick, who sits next to Amira, notices that she struggles with spelling and math, and offers to help. The two hit it off from the start. Nick feels comfortable enough not only to invite her to join his friends at lunchtime, but also to baseball practice after school. Nick learns a lot about her life in Syria, but has no idea that she accrued some baseball skills during her time at the refugee camp. Regardless of what she knows, Amira is both happy to learn new skills from Coach and to be included in The Hometown All Stars team. The Christofora-Tangeman team strikes another home run in The Hometown All Stars series with their fourth installment, Amira Can Catch. The first-person narrative, which features Nick—one of The Hometown All Stars teammates, raises awareness to children about providing respect others. While this theme is a the forefront of book’s message, Christofora-Tangeman manage to tightly weave in more fun baseball techniques (i.e., ready position, ways to catch a ball, throwing, pop-fly balls), especially as they include information about Willie Mays and his famous 24 team number, which just so happens to be the same number on Amira’s jersey. Closing with an inspirational message about What Does It Mean to be American, Amira Can Catch! is much more than a book on the technicalities of baseball, teaching children the value of all people.

— Anita Lock

“…unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.”

—Midwest Book Review

“Informative and well written. It is easy to understand and includes facts for your little reader.”

— Cassandra M’s Place

“Amira Can Catch! is a fantastic and interesting book that I recommend for all ages, and I believe that it is a great book that can truly help readers get a better understanding of the refugee experience.”

— Srikar, Age 10, for Kids’ BookBuzz

“The illustrations are excellent. It is inclusive, and features both boys and girls, as well as a mixture of ethnic students. There is a vocabulary list at the end, as well as questions for readers.”

— Cottage Country Reflections

The Hometown All Stars series helps children learn beginning sports skills with real life coaching techniques, combined with education and most importantly how to have fun! he illustrations are excellent. It is inclusive, and features both boys and girls, as well as a mixture of ethnic students. There is a vocabulary list at the end, as well as questions for readers.”

— Midwest Book Review

Nick’s Very First Day of Baseball

“What I liked best about this book was the diversity of the baseball team –ethnicities and gender. Christofora doesn’’t limit the team to only boys. He captivates his young audience by first creating a sort of “where’s Waldo” on the pages, encouraging readers to see how many baseballs they can find in Nick’’s room. Nearly every page has a bubble caption on it with baseball tips.”

— Heidi Komlofske-Rojek, Manhattan Book Review

“While indications that the small business owner and Little League coach is a fledgling author keep this initial offering from being a home run, it is easily a stand-up double to the outfield wall. The tale of young Nick’s first foray into baseball is complemented superbly by Dale Tangeman’s vibrant full-page illustrations…”

— Rich Rezler, Foreword Reviews

“In this gently told picture book, a little boy enjoys his first day of baseball practice. Nick’s Very First Day of Baseball is an effective way to excite kids about athletic play, providing an accessible, easy-to-follow introduction to the sport.”

— BlueInk

“This is a GREAT book for all children starting baseball! The pictures are wonderful, and I love how it has boys and girls! 5 out of 5 stars.”

Laura J. Jacobson

“I’m an author, but my enthusiasm for Kevin’s series doesn’t come from the mind of a writer. It comes from the heart of a grandfather. Reading these books with my grandson I watched him soak up the facts about the game they still call America’s pastime. When we were done reading, I launched into a few of my own “when I was a boy just about your age” baseball stories, and watched his eyes get wider, his grin get broader, and our connection get deeper. It made me wonder — are these books for kids? Or were they written for parents and grandparents who want to bond with their kids? Thank you, Kevin.”

— Marshall Karp, Author, co-author for James Patterson

“In a day in age where the focus is on diverse books I love how you have incorporated children, both male and female, of different races. That is something extremely important that we stress in the library. I would recommend this book from ages 3-10, I feel that even though it could work for younger students the mechanics of the sport included could work for the older kids. The aspect of team building featured in Nicks Very First Day of Baseball is valuable lesson not only for baseball but for school and life. After I read them I passed them along to a 10 student that frequents the library, and is obsessed with baseball. I will be sure to pass along his review later on. One of my favorite parts of the books was the informational facts peppered in the books. The baseball card of Cy Young and the word blurb in TGIT is a great incorporation of true history. The mechanics of the sport related to everyday objects such as a windmill, with a picture is a useful comparison. The questions at the end are not only Nicks favorite part, they were mine as well! Reading comprehension is a huge part of my job, a teachers job or a parents job. By incorporating it into the book you made everyone’s job a lot easier!

— Morgan O’Reilly, Young Adult Librarian at The New York Public Library

“I received your newest The Hometown All Stars book and I think the libraries will like it. The statewide summer reading committee has created Pinterest pages for the books we’re suggesting for the 2016 program and all three of your books have been chosen to be listed there.”

— Sharon Rawlins, Youth Services Specialist in Lifelong Learning
New Jersey State Library

“I have never read a book like this before. Nick’s Very First Day of Baseball is a great book for any kid who loves baseball or wants to learn about it. The book also has fun activities for the reader to do. I read this book with my mom, and she thought it was great, too. She doesn’t know a lot about baseball and she said this would help her understand what’s happening during the game.”

— Ben – Age 6, Kids’ BookBuzz

“This book is a great place for potential Joe DiMaggios to start. It would be a wonderful read for a child who, like Nick, is just about to begin playing baseball as it explains how practices are run, from donning uniforms to stretching to carousing with a team. In addition to portraying the sport as an exciting way to spend an afternoon, Christofora also focuses on the camaraderie and support that comes with being in a group. A fun-loving, age-appropriate look at America’s favorite pastime.”

— Kirkus Reviews

“Kevin Christofora cares about kids and baseball like few others. His Hometown All Stars series reveal splendid character studies and moral purpose … and the essence of fun and teamwork.”

Dave Kaplan – Director, Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center

“Little League is more than baseball. It teaches character and builds leaders in our community. The Hometown All Stars capture that essence, what a great series this will be!”

— Nick Gantner, District Administrator, Little League

“This series offers its readers a chance to see great, often historic, sports moments. It eliminates the need to sift through ten poorly written books to find one worth reading. You finish one and can’t wait to start the next. Truly enjoyable.”

— Bob Salomon, A Glove of Their Own, author, coach

The All Stars are honored by Gail Godwin! Godwin’s body of work has garnered many honors, including three National Book Award nominations, a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Five of her novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list. Dear Kevin: Having read these materials, I know why you will succeed at anything you care about. You seem to have an in-built knack of providing what is wanted exactly when it is needed. You must be a very good listener to people: employees, colleagues, children, you name it. I read Nick’s “Very First” Day of Baseball, and in a way I was your ideal reader, because I knew about as much as Nick did on his very first day. You served up information when it was useful, no matter how simple it was (the first thing you need is a glove, and buying a glove is your commitment). And you also made the story exciting, each page a discovery. In addition, a warmth and passion for the sport glows behind every page. And when I was too excited to go to sleep, Billy Ball asked me how many baseballs I could find and I searched and counted. Some were easy, some were hard: I almost missed the one under the bed. At the end I took the Shout it Out quiz. I look forward to hearing more about the different players’ “magic bats,” and I did not know why people wore their caps backwards. Your illustrator’s colors, concepts, and liveliness are just right. And your young players are certainly an inclusive bunch. (I didn’t realize boys and girls now played baseball together on the same team. I know we did in the park across from the church, but we weren’t a real team. The old fogies on the hill overlooking the park had the city plant thorn bushes where our bases were, but the rector, a sportsman himself, intervened, and the bushes were removed. I mention this only because at the time it was a world-shaking event for those of us who played there.)”

— Gail Godwin, Author, including three National Book Award nominations

Magic Bat Day

“As a parent and an educator, I enjoyed Magic Bat Day. It was different than any other book I’ve read. Being a part of a series, it focuses only on the first day of practice and learning hitting. This is great for parents to realize that they can play this part while their kids are at practice. The hints on how to teach batting are helpful.”

— Heather Jewell, San Francisco Book Review

“I work at both a university library and a public library. I have found that with children’s books, especially, the cover artwork is a huge factor as far as how often a book is circulated, and I found the artwork for Magic Bat Day is very appealing. If you can catch the reader’s attention with the cover, you can hook the reader with the content. I will definitely give it a good look when it comes in and try to provide more feedback then. I will also pass it along to the Children’s Department manager for consideration of inclusion in the collection.”

— Vicky Coffin, Wethersfield Public Library

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents, the “Hometown All Stars” series has created an opportunity for parents and their children to read together.”

Elohim Pacheco – Kindergarten Teacher

“Nick, the main character, has an enthusiasm that’s infectious; when he finds his “magic bat” and has success hitting, it’s hard to imagine a young reader not asking to go outside and try it himself. “

— BlueInk Reviews

Thank Goodness It’s T-Ball Day

“Kevin is right on the mark! More green and less screen. Kids and parents need this!”

— Leon Gast, Director, Producer, Academy Award Winner; When We Were Kings

“Whether a child is just dipping his or her toe into the baseball pool or is already a full-blown fan, the Hometown All Stars series, including this newest volume, is sure to delight. A home run for kids and adults alike.”

— Kirkus Reviews