A Whole New Ballgame

A Whole New Ballgame 
By: Phil Bildner

Published: August 18, 2015
Pages: 256
Audience; Grades 4 and up 

The Story 

Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn't believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more "off" the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other—and find ways to make a difference—in the classroom and on the court.
With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.

Story  by Goodreads


There was a lot of diversity in this book that I think will appeal to a wide range of kids. Its theme is that you are more than the label you are given. This is an issue and I think a lot of kids will connect to. I think my favorite part though was in regards to the theme that learning happens when we have fun. I wish I had Mr. Acevedo as a teacher! For the kids, I think the appeal will be for the basketball & a project that the kids do on the grossest things. I would feel comfortable recommending this book to basketball lovers and some reluctant readers too. For the adults, I think the teaching style will resonate some appeal. It has a little something for everyone.


Although there were a lot of strengths to the book, I think the biggest weakness for me was that the character Red was not as well developed as I would have liked. It felt like he fell into the background. I wanted to see more of him & wanted to see an emphasis on his strengths. There are more books planned in this series though. 
I am hopeful that the author will put more of a spot light on Red. 

With one in 68 kids diagnosed with Autism a year, we need more books like this. 
I look forward to see what more these series has to offer. It has a lot of promise.

Here are some more great books with characters with Autism:

Remember Dippy: YA Fiction Featuring a Character with Autism by Shirley Reva Vernick

Delightfully Different – Girl with Asperger’s and Sensory Processing Disorder by D. S. Walker

RULES at Goodreads

For More Information on Autism, please visit Autism Speaks.

For more information on more books & book reviews with characters with disabilities, please check out these resources:

Disability in Kidlit

Resource for Special Need Literature

We Need Diverse Books


Please note: This is just my thoughts on this book. This is  no way a reflection of  the committee or committee discussions.

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