Aftermath of War
The year is 1949. In the little towns of Barlow and Bear Creek Ridge, there is a traditional softball game that has been played every year since 1899. The game was started because the men in the two towns were angry at each other and refused to speak. The women in the two towns decided to play a friendly softball game against each other in order to get the men talking to each other again. It worked, and became a tradition. The game in later years came to be played by the sixth grade girls every year, and the girls now always look forward to it. It is an honor and a last opportunity to do something for their towns before seventh grade, when they all go to the same consolidated junior high school.
This book is told by the members of both teams, and tells the story leading up to the Bat 6 game and the things that happen after the game. At first both teams expect it to be a normal year, but each team then gains someone new. On the Bear Creek Ridge team, it is Aki, a girl who used to live in town but had spent years in a Japanese internment camp during the war. On the Barlow team it is Shazam, a strange girl who comes to town without a mother or father, to live with her grandmother. Over the course of the novel her secret comes out, and the reader can see that there might be trouble at the game.
I liked the idea of this book. It is a good story about the aftermath of war, and what happened to families once the war ended. I liked that there is a wide diversity in the characters. There are rich and poor, those whose fathers fought and those whose fathers refused to fight, people who benefited from the GI Bill, people who didn't seem to be affected by the war, people with prejudices and people without.
I didn't like that the author tries to write the story in the way sixth-graders would really write. The girls have run-on sentences, their thoughts are disconnected, and they don't use proper grammar or punctuation. I found that very distracting and unnecessary.
Set just after World War II, Bat 6 addresses racism through the eyes of 12 year old girls. Although it's juvenile literature, the theme of this book is very mature. It should be required reading for pre-adolescents! It's great food for thought and discussion.
A Fun Story that Deals with Some Important Themes
Bat 6 is such a great example of point of view in a book. The story is told from many different perspectives that come together to paint the whole picture. The story develops the characters of Aki and Shazam the most, leading up to their confrontation in the game. Wolff makes Aki into a very sympathetic victim, but also creates a sympathetic and complex protagoinst with Shazam. The story exposes shortcomings in religion and in the USA. It provides a great introduction into the Japanese internment during WW2 and racism towards Asian-Americans. It makes a profound statement about the absurdity of war and the need for peace. Also, the story raises moral dilemmas about what is right and wrong. This would be great to integrate elements of thater and character analysis with the teaching. An easy read and fun story that also brings up some important and heavy issues.
6th Grader's Review
This book is about two girl baseball teams. Both teams have a new girl on their team. This story takes place a few years after World War 2. Both teams are really looking forward to the big game, Bat 6. In every chapter different girls from one team talk and give their opinion about the things that happen during the book. One conflict is racism between Americans and Japanese. One character that was interesting to me is Shazam. Shazam is a girl who is on one of the baseball teams. She was interesting to me because of how much racism she had towards Japanese people.
I did not like this book very much. I did not like it because the author had too much dialogue and not enough action. The author did a good job of describing the feelings of Shazam and how she hated Japanese people. Racism was a big effect on people back then, like Shazam. I think people who like sad books would like it because in the book something sad happens.
The Dangers of a Softball Game
Bat 6 is an interesting story about two teams of 6th grade girls who play the annual softball game. Right before the game, each team gets a new girl. On Bear Field, Aki, a Japanese girl joins the team. Aki used to live in Bear Field when she was little, however, during the war, she and her family were forced to live in the Asian Camps in California. On Barlow Creek, they get Shazzam. Shazzam is a wonderful baseball player, however, she is very disturbed. Her father was killed in Pearl Harbor, and her mother is too unstable to raise children, so Shazzam lives with her grandmother outside of town. Because her father died in Pearl Harbor, Shazzam has undying prejudice towards any, and all Asians. So, on the big day when the two teams play against each other, her insanity causes her to do the unthinkable.
Bat 6 is an amazing book and I definitely think that you will enjoy it. I only read this book because a friend read it, and I knew it was about softball. (I'm definitely a softball addict!) However, the plot was very interesting, and I got so into it, I finished it in a couple of days