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As an avid baseball fan and a resident of New Jersey, I found it hard to believe that I'd never once stumbled upon this woman's story, as much of it takes place in Newark and it's a story any baseball fan would love," said Vernick.


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In the 's and 's, as an African-American woman, she was a mover and shaker in business, and a crusader for civil rights. I don't know what drove her ceaseless pursuit of social justice, but she was a force unto herself. So many of us have a general uneasiness with the state of society. We sign petitions.

We get angry and speak loudly at parties about issues we feel strongly about. But Effa Manley got it done , and that made a big impression on me. While still in research mode, Vernick went to the A. She reviewed microfiche of Manley's scrapbook, looked at articles from the time, viewed photos. And then I began to write. It's an awesome responsibility, deciding how readers will get to know a subject, and I felt the weight of that responsibility at every juncture.

It hurt to cut away certain scenes, but a picture book for an elementary audience simply cannot be too long. Lynching wasn't a subject Vernick wanted to bring up and have to explain in a book for such a young audience in the space allotted. Originally from Queens, Vernick herself went to Mets games with her father as a child, "but somewhere along the line my allegiance shifted north to the Bronx," she grins. Her son is a high school baseball player and has been playing since he was two.

Her husband played ball in high school and college and founded a recreational baseball league in their New Jersey town. Her father played baseball in the army. I'm a hardcore baseball fan. She regularly travels to libraries and schools to speak to kids about Effa's enormous legacy. A brilliant discussion guide was also created for the book so teachers can easily incorporate it into their curriculum. Gates open and festivities begin at pm at the stadium, which is directly across the street from the Newark Broad Street train station.

Effa's niece, Connie Brooks, will throw out the first pitch.

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For more about Effa Manley visit Audrey Vernick's blog. View a trailer for the book. For more about Audrey Vernick visit her website. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. And when the bat hits the ball that day, wherever she is, no doubt Effa Manley will be smiling.

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