The William Hoy Story (and Our Other Favorite Baseball Books)

One of my favorite things about reading so many books with my girls is that I often learn about people I would otherwise never know. Today’s picture book biography taught me about one such person, and I am so excited to share him with you!

When researching new picture books about baseball, I came across The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Jez Tuya. I had never heard of William Hoy but was definitely intrigued by the title of this book, and fortunately, I requested it from our library just before it closed in March. This story is so good! Read on to learn a little bit about William Hoy and how he changed baseball.

Born hearing in 1862, William lost his hearing when he was small due to illness. Growing up, William loved baseball, and even though he didn’t make his college team, he continued to work hard and play. His hard work played off, as he was eventually asked to join a minor league baseball team. He struggled, however, with following the calls of the game, as he was often too far away from players, coaches, and umpires to read their lips.

Never one to give up, William came up with a solution. He’d work with the umpires to come up with a system of hand signals for strike and ball and taught them American Sign Language symbols for safe and out. But he didn’t stop there! During his time in the minor and major leagues, he also taught his teammates symbols so that they could communicate about pitches and plays without the other teams hearing them. His accomplishments in baseball are incredible in and of themselves, but his accomplishments and contributions to the community are just as admirable. You’re going to want to read the “More About William Hoy” and “Timeline” sections of The William Hoy Story!

Now, William Hoy’s story is for sure fascinating. But, what struck me even more was that aside from a few Helen Keller biographies, I can’t remember any other picture books I’ve ever read about anyone with hearing impairment. We certainly don’t own any others in our home library. While I’ve always made great efforts to make sure that the books on our shelves represent the diversity of our nation and world, I’m realizing I need to do a better job finding books that depict people with various disabilities.

So, help me out! What titles do you love that will help us better our bookshelves?

And now, some of our other favorite baseball stories! Most age ranges are publishers’ recommendations, and all links are Amazon Affiliate links. Thank you in advance for considering making a purchase from these links.

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