We Are the Ship by Kadir Nelson
The Story of Negro League Baseball

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"We are the ship; all else the sea."-Rube Foster, founder of the Negro National League

The story of Negro League baseball is the story of gifted athletes and determined owners; of racial discrimination and international sportsmanship; of fortunes won and lost; of triumphs and defeats on and off the field. It is a perfect mirror for the social and political history of black America in the first half of the twentieth century. But most of all, the story of the Negro Leagues is about hundreds of unsung heroes who overcame segregation, hatred, terrible conditions, and low pay to do the one thing they loved more than anything else in the world: play ball.

Using an "Everyman" player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. The voice is so authentic, you will feel as if you are sitting on dusty bleachers listening intently to the memories of a man who has known the great ballplayers of that time and shared their experiences. But what makes this book so outstanding are the dozens of full-page and double-page oil paintings-breathtaking in their perspectives, rich in emotion, and created with understanding and affection for these lost heroes of our national game.

We Are the Ship is a tour de force for baseball lovers of all ages.

About Kadir Nelson

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Kadir Nelson's paintings have been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Museum of Tolerance, and the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences in Los Angeles; the Museum of African American History in Detroit; the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum in Washington D.C.; and the Society of Illustrators and the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, as well as many others. Nelson is the illustrator of many books for children. Among the best known are Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, an NAACP Image Award winner, a Caldecott Honor Book, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner; Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner; Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please, by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee; and Will Smith's Just the Two of Us, also an NAACP Image Award winner. We Are the Ship is the first book Nelson has written and illustrated. Kadir Nelson lives with his family in California. Visit his Web site, www.kadirnelson.com.
Published January 8, 2008 by Jump At The Sun. 96 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for We Are the Ship

Kirkus Reviews

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Arranging his narrative into historical “Innings,” the author closes with lists of Negro Leaguers who played in the Majors, and who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, plus a detailed working note.

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Publishers Weekly

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And while this large, square book (just a shade smaller than a regulation-size base) succeeds as coffee-table art, it soars as a tribute to the individuals, like the legendary Josh Gibson, who was ultimately elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame without ever playing in the major leagues.

Jan 07 2008 | Read Full Review of We Are the Ship: The Story of...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Nelson breaks the book into nine innings, each covering a topic relevant to the Negro Leagues, such as the owners, the barnstorming games against top-flight white teams, and the process that culminated with Jackie Robinson becoming the first black man to play in the majors in the modern era.

Mar 24 2008 | Read Full Review of We Are the Ship: The Story of...

Common Sense Media

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.Find out more Parents need to know that this is an important and valuable book that gives new insight into African-American history and the history of baseball.

Jan 08 2008 | Read Full Review of We Are the Ship: The Story of...

Shelf Awareness

Children's book author Jon Scieszka will become the country's first national ambassador for young people's literature and will "travel and speak to groups of children, parents and teachers 'to evangelize the need for reading,'" according to today's New York Times.

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Project MUSE

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School Library Journal

At the end you will find a list of "Negro Leaguers who made it to the Major Leagues", "Negro Leaguers in the National Baseball Hall of Fame", an Author’s Note, Bibliography, Filmography Endnotes, and an Index that denotes references to illustrations with italics.

Jan 21 2008 | Read Full Review of We Are the Ship: The Story of...

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