Known as the “female Jackie Robinson,” Toni Stone played baseball from 1932 to 1954, defying both racial and gender barriers. She didn’t just play, she played with and as one of the best.
For teens, this will hit home as not only a sports story, but also as the story of a young girl who was determined to find a way to do what she loved above all else.
Adult/High School–In Cooperstown, she is but a footnote: the first woman to play in the Negro League. Ackmann wanted to know more about Stone, who had a dream as a child, and as a teenager, and as a young woman–to play baseball. And that meant not just being out there on the field, but also being the best ballplayer her physical abilities and mental toughness would allow. Ackmann presents the remarkable story of Stone’s considerable talent and unwavering determination in this fully researched, thoughtfully rendered, unflinchingly honest biography. “Tomboy Stone” realized early on that the only way to play ball at the level she was capable of playing was to get out there with the boys. She would have to ask the guys to give her a chance time and time again. She got her chance and she made the best of it. In the face of repeated prejudice against her race and against her gender, she put on her glove and took the field. She worked harder than anyone to get better, earning the respect of many of her fellow ballplayers. Some would never accept her, but there was sufficient acceptance for her to enjoy (and suffer through) a career of some two decades of playing baseball. With 16 pages of black-and-white photos, Curveball is highly recommended for all collections.–Robert Saunderson, formerly at Berkeley Public Library, CA