The William Hoy Story

by Nancy Churnin (Author) Jez Tuya (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Winner - 2017 Storytelling World Resource Award

Honor Book Finalist - 2017 North Texas Book Festival Best Children's Books

All William Ellsworth Hoy wanted to do was play baseball. After losing out on a spot on the local deaf team, William practiced even harder--eventually earning a position on a professional team. But his struggle was far from over. In addition to the prejudice Hoy faced, he could not hear the umpires' calls. One day he asked the umpire to use hand signals: strike, ball, out. That day he not only got on base but also changed the way the game was played forever. William "Dummy" Hoy became one of the greatest and most beloved players of his time!

The William Hoy Story is also on several book lists:

2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2017

Texas 2x2 Reading List 2017 Texas Topaz Nonfiction Reading List

2017 Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College

2017-2018 Charter Oak Children's Book Award List (Connecticut)

2017-2018 Kennebec Valley Book Award List

2018 Illinois Monarch Award Master List

2018-2019 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice List

Select format:

Kirkus Reviews

A moving tribute to a true hero.

Publishers Weekly

This rousing underdog story from newcomers Churnin and Tuya introduces William Hoy, who became a major-league baseball player in the 1880s, despite being left deaf from a childhood bout with meningitis. Though an early manager tried to take advantage of him, and teammates would hide their mouths so Hoy couldn't read their lips, Hoy taught his teammates American Sign Language--symbols that Hoy eventually got umpires to use, too, and (possibly) helped pave the way for officiating gestures still in use. Tuya's bright cartoons give a solid sense of the period, as well as Hoy's pride, satisfaction--and some hurtful moments--on his way to becoming "king of center field." An afterword provides additional details about Hoy's life, personality, and influence. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator's agent: Charlie Bowden, Pickled Ink. (Mar.)

Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3—This picture book biography demonstrates how an extraordinary deaf player from the early days of baseball made a lasting contribution to the game. The ambitions of William Hoy (1862-1961) were clear from the start. The boy thought of little other than baseball and practiced tirelessly in hopes of playing on a team. Achieving his goal brought challenges that he didn't expect, but giving up was not an option. Hoy realized that better communication was needed and knew just the way to do it. While he was not the only person to introduce hand signals to the game, he did popularize their use among players and fans. The book is well told and charmingly illustrated in a semirealistic style that conveys Hoy's emotions. Those who enjoyed Audrey Vernick's Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team (Clarion, 2012) will want to read this engaging biography. VERDICT This is the largely unknown story of a differently abled athlete's valuable addition to the great American pastime.—Paige Mellinger, Gwinnett County Public Libraries, Lillburn, GA

Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Nominee: 2018-2019 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice List, Grades 3-5

"The Louisiana Young Readers' Choice program was founded in 1999 with the first award given in 2000. Participation in this program has climbed from 5,485 votes the first year to over 29,000 students participating in 2009. The purpose of the program is to foster a love of reading in the children of Louisiana by motivating them to participate in the recognition of outstanding books."

it was so good

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Albert Whitman & Company
Publication date
March 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JNF054010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Sports & Recreation | Baseball & Softball
JNF053180 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Topics | Special Needs
JNF007100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Sports & Recreation
JNF029050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Language Arts | Sign Language
Library of Congress categories
United States
Baseball players
Hoy, William
Deaf athletes
Storytelling World Resource Award
Winner 2017 - 2017
New York Public Library
Best Books for Kids 2017
Bank Street College
Best Children's Books for the Year
Charter Oak Children's Book Award List
2017 - 2018
Kennebec Valley Book Award List
Louisiana Young Readers' Choice List
2018 - 2019

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