A High Five for Glenn Burke

Farrar. Feb. 2020. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374312732.
Gr 5-7–The author of the “Rip and Red” series tells the story of baseball-obsessed Silas, a 6th-grader whose journey to self-acceptance begins with a school presentation on Glenn Burke, the 1970s baseball player who invented the high-five, who was gay, and whose real-life story did not have a happy ending. Soon Silas is coming out to his best friend, Zoey, and to his favorite baseball coach. But things get complicated when a couple of his teammates use “gay” as an insult, and he finds himself lying about Zoey being his girlfriend. With Coach Webb’s support, he learns to take responsibility for his actions and strive for authenticity as he sorts out the mess he has created with his lie. As the novel ends, Silas has not yet come out to his family, but readers can be sure that when he does, they will respond with love and support.
VERDICT The baseball-heavy plot may deter readers who aren’t interested in sports, so librarians may need to be prepared to hand-sell this compassionate, well-written story to ensure a wider audience.

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