Bat 6

by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Paperback, 2000



Call number

PB Wol

Call number

PB Wol

Local notes

PB Wol




Scholastic Paperbacks (2000), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages


In small town, post-World War Oregon, twenty-one 6th grade girls recount the story of an annual softball game, during which one girl's bigotry comes to the surface.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

240 p.; 5 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member CBJames
This may not be a fair review. I have a few issues with Bat 6. You have been warned.

Bat 6 is the story of how racism hit home following World War II in small town rural Oregon. Every year, the sixth grade girls in the rival towns of Bear Creek Ridge and Barlow Road have a softball game. It's a big
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deal. Everyone in both towns comes to see the game. The girls spend the entire school year practicing for it. It's meant to bring the two communities together, to inspire good sportsmanship, and to build the character of the girls and everyone who attends.

In 1948 two new girls arrive. Aki is not really new--her family was sent to a relocation camp along with most of the Japanese Americans living in the western half of America. They are trying to restart their orchards. "After a few minor incidents, Aki's family is re-integrated into the town. Everyone is basically embarrased by what happend to them and anxious to leave the past in the past. Shazam, Shirley to her teachers, is on the new girl on the other team. She has come to live with her grandmother because her own mother is not capable of supporting her and her father, a sailor, was killed when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Though she is a difficult person, the girls on her team try to help Shazam adjust to her new home.

This should be a good review. The book is well written, well intended. It does not sugar-coat the issues it deals with nor does it resort to preaching. The characters are strong, and the suspenseful plot holds the reader's interest as the story builds to a thought provoking climax. But I still have a few issues.

I find it hard to believe that none of the girls besides Shazam have any problems with Aki. Nor do any of their parents. There is set of fathers who will not speak to each other becuase one was a conscientious objector while the other fought in the war. I find this well within believabitily. But I find it hard to accept that the only other character in town with any significant prejudice against Aki and her family is Shazam. It's only 1948.

Which brings me to my second problem with Bat 6. The prejudiced character, Shazam, is dirt poor, the product of an absent single mother, probably emotionally disturbed and mentally handicapped. While she is an excellent ball player, she cannot learn her multiplication tables. The rest of the girls have no issues with prejudice. While they are not all wealthy, they are the product of well adjusted, two parent families and none of them are as poor as Shazam's grandmother. That Shazam is the only "bad" girl in the lot is problematic at least. It makes the novel imply that only certain types of people carry racial hatred. If your parents are good people like us, you won't be prejudiced. This has not been my experience with prejudice.

Lastly, why do YA authors and publisher insists on using multiple voices in their novels? Every girl on both teams takes a turn narrating Bat 6. Even adult readers find this device confusing. It's the thing I hate most about Bleak House. Time and again my students have told me they don't like multiple narrators because it confuses them. Even with a relatively easy read like No More Dead Dogs, the mulitple narrators serve to confuse and irritate many middle school readers.

Please stop it. The sixth and seventh grade students in room 29 implore you.
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LibraryThing member elslibrary
The narrative of events, at times reluctant, revolves around a 6th grade girls softball game threads a tale of camaraderie, sportsmanship and allegiances. Set in the years after World War II, the town members of this Pacific Northwest region grapple with formalities and changing times. The
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polyvolic format winds the reader through the events leading up to the big game and the catalyzing interaction that challenges the status quo.
Personal Reaction:
I loved this book! I ignored my family for half an afternoon and was swept by the girls telling their versions. In some ways it was so foreign to me, the reality of the Japanese American’s at the time of the war and the patriotic Rah! Rah! that controlled much of the societal interactions. I was incredibly moved at the undercurrents of prejudice and discomfort that were addressed due to the event of the game. The opportunities for personal growth as a result of a tragic event were monumental and in many ways long overdue. I highly recommend Bat 6.
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LibraryThing member katitefft
This story is an excellent example of historical fiction because it draws upon the real softball experience of girls living in the late 1940's, just after World War II came to an end and the Japanese were released from the internment camps. The girls on the two softball teams, along with their
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families and their communities, come to the harsh realization in this story that racism and prejudice are prevalent, even though it seems as if society should have moved past such hateful intolerance. This message permeates beyond the time and place of the book into the life of the reader as well, causing them to think about how racism and prejudice are still prevalent in our world today. The girls in this story, though, learn that the only way to overcome racism and prejudice as a society is to be individuals who will stand up against it. An interesting style technique that the author uses in conveying this message to the reader is through point of view. The entire book is told in first person, but from a number of different perspectives. This allows the reader to get into the head of each character and see exactly where they are coming from, which causes the reader to not be so quick to judge the actions of certain characters. It also teaches readers to show grace to people and learn their life stories before making any value judgments.
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LibraryThing member madelinelbaker
This book is a good example of historical fiction because through an event that happens between Shazam and Aki during the annual 6th grade girl softball game makes everyone think about their true feelings after WWII. The feelings that were felt by Shazam were what a lot of people were thinking that
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lost a loved one in the war. Also the discrimination that Aki and her family had to go through also happened during and after the war.
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LibraryThing member sosandra
Bat 6 is the tale of two towns’ 6th grade softball team players and their lives leading up to the big game. The story is set in the late 1940s, after World War II. The girls on the two softball teams, along with their families and their communities, come to harsh realization that racism and
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prejudice exist in their own towns, even as they are trying to recuperate from the war. Bat 6 tells the prejudice that a Japanese-American born girl, Aki, faces as she comes back to the community she lived in as a child. The strong prejudice and hatred that Shazam displays towards Aki is something the communities have never encountered before.
Bat 6 refers to how Japanese-American had to rebuild their lives with nothing except the things they took with them. Many of their possessions were looted, destroyed, or unusable. The story emphasizes on how a Japanese-American girl wants to go back to her life but because of the effects of the war on another girl, she faces the prejudice in a brutal way. However, she is able to break free of her Japanese culture and express the hurt and pain she feels.
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LibraryThing member kkcrossley
Takes place in Oregon in 1949/50 when two rival girls softball teams come together, Under current is that one of the girls has just come back from a Japanese internment camp and the father of a girl on the other team, was killed in Pearl Harbor.
LibraryThing member JoanAxthelm
What would it be like to be taken from your home and locked away during the second world war, simply because you are of Japanese decent? What would it be like to then return home after the war has ended?

This book focuses on the second question through the eyes of many middle school age girls with
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powerful and complex answers.

Lexile: 930
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LibraryThing member mutantpudding
A little confusing with the changing narrative but overall a powerful and complex piece of historical fiction.




(49 ratings; 3.4)
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