Betsy’s Day at the Game—Author Interview of Greg Bancroft

Betsy’s Day at the Game–Interview of author Greg Bancroft

By Greg Bancroft; illustrated by Katherine Blackmore

Mighty Media Press, 2013; ages 6-10

betsy-cover-v4-for-PGW-300x240Betsy and her grandpa revel in baseball in the picture book Betsy’s Day at the Game. “In the middle of the crowded city, the brick walls opened up to reveal a beautiful baseball diamond. Like a pop-up book. It was magic.”

Millions of Americans will agree in the midst of an exciting World Series season—baseball brings families together. Author Greg Bancroft believes baseball can not only enhance inter-generational relationships, but also boost confidence in young girls

Greg agreed to answer some questions raised for me when I reviewed Betsy’s Day at the Game. (Read the full book review here.)

The giveaway has ended. Mighty Media Press gave away two copies of his book to commentors on this post!

Interview of author Greg Bancroft—

unnamed (2)In your story of an inter-generational day at the ball park, the young grand-daughter demonstrates how to score the game and the grandfather tests and reinforces her knowledge. You are teaching the reader how to score in the process.

Knowing how to score baseball seems to empower Betsy and enhance her enjoyment—was it your goal to give girls the same knowledge?

Greg's scorebook

Greg’s scorebook

Definitely. Scoring is almost a lost art. There is so much going on, so much strategy, and directions to any game can be so ridiculously difficult to understand.

I was inspired to use a baseball game, and our family always journaled in the margins of the scorebooks—they contain the history of our family. So I pitched the idea of sharing family history in the context of baseball to my publisher.

Eleven year old girls in my focus group learned to score from the picture book with no coaching!

You emphasize the older generation sharing baseball traditions with younger traditions in the story. Are there baseball traditions in your family?

unnamed (3)I passed on scoring and journaling to my daughter and grandchildren. Betsy is really a composite of them. My own grandfather didn’t talk much, but he talked about baseball. I was the only one to hit a home run one day at age ten, and by the time I got to his hardware store he already knew.

He chose to take me, not a friend, to a World Series game back when the Twins were brand new to Minnesota. Sandy Colfax pitched a three hit game on only two days rest. I’ve never been to a World Series game since, but I’d love to!

Do you feel kids, particularly girls, benefit from playing baseball?

I really do. Team camaraderie is so important—it takes a whole team to win or lose. Baseball is so accepting and forgiving. You never know who is going to step up, and you have to support each other.

“Nice pitch! Good eye!”

It’s the only sport where you can fail more often than you succeed and still be a super star.

Girls can start early and size and shape don’t matter. Baseball is great for girls’ self-esteem. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s what you can do.

I love learning you consulted a group of eleven year old girls! What else did you learn from your focus group?

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The girls commented on how Betsy’s tongue was sticking out at times. They were concerned with how they looked and this confirmed my understanding of girls that age.

We asked, “what do you think Betsy was thinking about when she caught the ball? It was quite a feat, catching the ball in the midst of a crowd. Grandpa helped steady her, but he didn’t do it for her. He knew she would do her best.”

We talked about how focused she was. Her tongue sticking out showed how hard she was concentrating. That lesson is now included in the Educator’s Guide for Betsy’s Day at the Game. (sorry, link to educ guide not working-awaiting new)

The grandfather in your story celebrates the chance to spend time with Betsy. He fills important roles such as teacher, cheerleader and family historian. Tell us about time with your own grandkids, and your stories.

St. Paul sidewalk poem

St. Paul sidewalk poem

I was a Navy chaplain and a pastor for years, and there were always chances to share stories with children—in Sunday school, camps and retreats. Then my own kids, and now I have three grandchildren living in Nashville and Boston.

I have a journal for each one, mainly observations of life and of the kids and eventually I’ll give them to the grandkids. The journal will end up in their lap someday, as now they’re in my lap themselves.

Thank you Greg, last question! I’m guessing you prefer outdoor baseball, but do you have a favorite ball park?

Oh yeah! Target Field in Minneapolis. It’s in the city in the thick of things, natural turf and a nice layout. Great food, customer friendly and eco-friendly.

Penny Marshall, actress, film director, and producer for the movie “A League of Their Own” calls this lovely picture book, “An entertaining book about baseball and passing traditions down through generations.”

We gave away two copies of Betsy’s Day at the Game to commentors-courtesy of publisher Mighty Media Press. Winners Patricia and Katy were drawn out of a hat (a baseball cap of course!)

And here is a link to fun facts about the film “A League of Their Own.”

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10 Responses to Betsy’s Day at the Game—Author Interview of Greg Bancroft

  1. This is my kind of book. What a great interview with Greg. I like that he focused this story on girls and included scoring. I loved baseball as a child, but I didn’t know how to score — just played every day in an open field with other kids. Also like that he interviewed girls about his story.

    • lindseymcd says:

      Patricia, thank you for your comments! I know you’re not alone in loving baseball, but lacking the knowledge around scoring. This book could fix that!

  2. Great interview. I can see girls liking the book for the sweetness and for the success of catching the ball. If I win the book, I’ll send it to my son who teaches 4th grade, your target audience.

  3. Katy Manck says:

    Sounds like a great book, one I’d share on http://www.abookandahug.com and with my young grandkids who are baseball players and fans (their mom is super at scoring their games)!

    • lindseymcd says:

      It is a great little book Katy! Glad the grandkids’ mom is a pro at scoring–this just might boost their expertise and enjoyment.

  4. Love the concept of this book! I love to keep score at baseball games and have taught my grandson how to do the same. I’m grateful for the post!

    Great blog, too!

    deb

    • lindseymcd says:

      Another grandparent passing on the art of scoring. That’s great to hear Debbie! Thanks for your kind words!

  5. Greg Bancroft says:

    Thanks to everyone for their comments – and for reading the book! We all have some time to beef up our scoring skills until the first Spring Training game…..but it will be here before we know it!

    • lindseymcd says:

      We love your book Greg! Thank you for the terrific interview! We have two happy winners of the giveaway–Patricia and Katy will soon receive a copy of “Betsy’s Day at the Game” in the mail courtesy of Mighty Media!

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