Twelve-year-old Casey Snowden knows everything about being an umpire. His dad and grandfather run a New Jersey umpire school, Behind the Plate, and Casey lives and breathes baseball. Casey’s dream, however, is to be a reporter—objective, impartial, and fair, just like an ump. But when he stumbles upon a sensational story involving a former major league player in exile, he finds that the ethics of publishing it are cloudy at best. This emotionally charged coming-of-age novel about baseball, divorce, friendship, love, and compassion challenges its readers to consider all the angles before calling that strike.
Audrey Vernick is author of several novels and many picture books, including Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team. She lives with her family near the ocean in New Jersey. Visit her online at audreyvernick.com and on Twitter @yourbuffalo.
a JLG selection "A strike is a strike, a ball is a ball. But what happens when the rules aren't so clear? You may scream at umpires, but you'll cheer and whoop for a kiddo who's trying with all his heart and guts to find a right way."
—Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award Finalist "Screaming at the Ump will make kids cheer! Baseball fans will love these funny, heart-warming characters, and the unique view of the game from behind the plate."
—Tim Green, New York Times bestselling author of Baseball Great and Best of the Best "This novel is a true original. If you’ve never read about umpire’s school before (and, seriously, who has?) you’re going to enjoy this book. Vernick’s writing is funny, poignant, and especially wise when it comes to dispelling the preconceived notions we sometimes cling to." —Todd Strasser, internationally bestselling author of The Wave, Fallout, and other titles
"Vernick laces her tale with humor, plus credible insights into the truly difficult art and techniques of umpiring, as she leads her aspiring journalist to make some good choices in the wake of a realization that people (parents included) should have more than one chance to get their calls right."
"Multiple threads come together in a well-crafted way when Casey realizes the same skills an umpire needs—being objective and fair, knowing the rules, and being int he right spot to make the call—also apply to becoming a good journalist and healing his broken relationship with his mother."
"It’s the peek into the world of professional umpire training that carries the interest here, culminating in the fictional but tantalizing event, You Suck, Ump! Day, in which students perform under intense pressure of a local crowd recruited to heckle them on the field."
"Believable characters, fast-paced action, ample dialogue, Casey's first-person voice, and great descriptions of Zeke's hyperactivity make this a probable home run for lots of middle-schoolers."
"A solid choice for middle-grade readers."
—School Library Journal —