Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Author: Matt Christopher

Sports books by Matt Christopher have been favorites with kids for years. Boys especially seem to gravitate to his sport centered books. The Sartogian has an interesting article about the author who died in 1997. His series continue to be popular in bookstores and libraries today.

...his books and their simple, yet valuable lessons are still very much alive. 'The Kid Who Only Hit Homers,' published in 1972, sold more than 2 million copies.

'The message is, you can't give up on yourself,' Dale Christopher said. 'You've got to keep trying; you've got to keep practicing. Even though you might have failures, you've got to believe in yourself.'

His son, Dale has written a biography of his father, Behind the Desk with Matt Christopher. A teacher himself, he also visits schools to keep his father's work alive in children's hearts. He describes his dad's early writing career.

'He would work during the day, and he would write at night,' Dale recalled. 'Day after day I would go to the mailbox and see what letters were out there. He would open them up, and I could see the look on his face that it was another rejection. But once in a while he got that letter and maybe it was a check in the mail for $50. That just spurred him on.'

Eventually, he submitted a children's short story that struck a chord with a publisher. In the early 1950s, there weren't many sports books on the market, so Christopher combined both elements, which resulted in his first book, 'The Little Baseball Bat.'

This year marks the golden anniversary of its debut, published by Little Brown Co.

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