Bat 6

by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Bat 6 book cover

Since the turn of the century, two rival Oregon farm communities have put their differences behind them and come together once a year to watch their sixth-grade girls' teams play softball. In the spring of 1949, the "50-year girls" excitedly anticipate their moment of glory. Bat 6 is their story, reconstructed just after it happened. The narrative is comprised of firsthand reporting from girls on both sides. This year, each team has a ringer. For the Bear Creek Ridge Mountaineers, it's Japanese-American first-baseman Aki, whose family has just moved back to the community after spending most of the war years in an internment camp. The Barlow Pioneers' marvel is their center fielder who calls herself Shazam, a troubled youngster who does everything, except her schoolwork, with an unsettling, single-minded intensity. Her father was killed at Pearl Harbor and she has maintained a deep-seeded [sic] hatred of the Japanese ever since. In the book's pivotal scene, Shazam violently attacks Aki during the big game, and play (and time itself, for that matter) is suspended. The period details and use of the vernacular are right on the money and always reflect the adolescent female point of view. At some point comes the liberating realization that it isn't necessary to keep the multiple voices straight and that the well-crafted account has taken on a life of its own. Wolff delves into the irreversible consequences of war and the necessity to cultivate peace and speaks volumes about courage, responsibility, and reconciliation - all in a book about softball.
- Luann Toth, School Library Journal

About the Author:

Virginia Euwer Wolff's family came to Oregon from Pennsylvania and New York state in 1911. She graduated from Smith College and has attended graduate schools in New York, Vermont, North Carolina, and Oregon. She has taught school for more than 20 years in New York, Philadelphia, and Oregon.

Among her distinctions are the National Book Award (for True Believer, 2001), two Oregon Book Awards, two Golden Kite awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, the Jane Addams Book Award for Bat 6 and the Jane Addams Honor Citation for True Believer, the International Reading Association Young Adult Book Award and the P.E.N. USA Center West Book Award for Probably Still Nick Swansen, and the Janusz Korczak Award Honor for The Mozart Season. Make Lemonade (Golden Kite, Oregon Book Award, Book List's Top of the List) has been translated into nine languages. She was given the Oregon Library Association's Evelyn Sibley Lampman Award in 2005 for service to the children of Oregon. Her books have all been named ALA Best Books or ALA Notables, sometimes both. True Believer was short listed for England's Carnegie Medal and was selected as the USA's honor book for the International Board on Books for Young People in Cape Town, South Africa.

Virginia has played the violin since age 8, with a horrifying lapse of about 15 years in early adulthood; the lapse brought to her attention the notion that every child must have music in order to thrive. She has a grown son (a jazz guitarist in Boston) and daughter (a psychotherapist in Maryland) and two grandchildren, Max and Sarah. She plays chamber music year round.

  • Miller Foundation
  • Starseed Foundation
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting