The Legend of Mickey Tussler
by Frank Nappi
Recommended by: Christine Sartory, Oceanside High School Librarian, Oceanside Federation of Teachers
Suitable for: Young adults
Why I chose this book: Frank Nappi, a high school English teacher for almost 25 years, uses baseball as the backdrop for a coming of age story starring an autistic young man. The Legend of Mickey Tussler and its sequel, Sophomore Campaign, from Skyhorse Publishing Inc., is set in the 1940s and chronicles the struggles of a young pitching phenom with autism who is trying to make it in the minor leagues.
What I like best: This is a perfect series for young adults and definitely appeals to even the most reluctant of readers. In both books, Mickey faces the grim and harsh realities of life that threaten to interfere with the pursuit of his dream.
How teachers can use this book: Nappi deals with difficult themes in his Tussler series — hatred, cruelty and loss — but he does so with a humanistic realism that resonates. The story hopefully fosters understanding, tolerance, compassion and, ultimately, acceptance.
The book is a must-read that appeals to casual and diehard baseball fans, to people who are touched by individuals with special needs, and to anyone who appreciates incredible writing and compelling plot.
About the author: Frank Nappi, a member of the Oceanside FT, has taught high school English and creative writing for almost 25 years. The Legend of Mickey Tussler was adapted as the screenplay for the film, "A Mile in His Shoes," which aired in September 2011.