Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Free Baseball

Free Baseball
by Sue Corbett

About the book:
Felix knows a lot of baseball players, but not the one he wants to know most: his father. His dad, a baseball star in Cuba, risked everything to send Felix to America. His mom won’t reveal anything else. When a team with a few Cuban players comes to town, Felix sneaks into the locker room to talk to them. That’s when the players mistake him for their new batboy. Determined to uncover the truth about his mysterious father, Felix plays along. Just for a few days, he thinks- long enough to find out about his dad.  But does he really want to know?

About the guide:
This guide includes discussion questions and projects appropriate for children’s book clubs, literature circles, and classroom discussions.

Comprehension Check:

  1. Why doesn’t Felix live with his father?
  2. How does Felix become a batboy?
  3. Who is Vic? How does he help?
  4. What does a batboy do?
  5. In the end, what does Felix learn about his father and himself?

Discussion guide:

  1. How does Felix get tickets to the Egret’s opening game? Why does he end up with a babysitter? Would you still want to go with a sitter? Why or why not?
  2. How does Felix think his life would be different if he could be with his father? Do you think he’s right about this? Why or why not?
  3. Describe what happens during the Egret’s game? Do you blame the babysitter or her friends? Why? What would you have done in the same situation?
  4. Why does Felix think he may die at one point? How dangerous a move was this? What do you think his mother will say if she finds out? What does it remind him of?
  5. Describe how many Cubans get to America. Why are they willing to risk their lives for this 90 mile journey across the sea? Would you? What is the policy of America? Do they allow immigrants to come in? Why or why not?
  6. Felix complains about his baseball team, The Tigers. He says they are “really about fun first, baseball second.” (p.58) Is this a good way for kids’ teams to be? Why is Felix so serious about baseball?
  7. Why does Felix wonder, “How long would I have to be away to get her [his mothers] attention… One day wouldn’t do it. How about one week?” (p. 66) Why is she so busy?
  8. How does Felix end up the temporary batboy for The Miracles? What small lies does he have to tell for this to work? Do small lies add up to big ones as Felix is afraid of? To whom does he lie?
  9. What prank do the players play on Felix? How does he turn it around on them? What does this tell you about him? Have you ever had this kind of prank done to you?
  10. Who is Don? What is his job? Why is this so unusual? Don tells Felix, “The way I think is, you can’t miss something you’ve never had.” (p.104) Felix disagrees though. Why? What does he miss?
  11. Who is Vic? How does he help Felix during his time there? What does he learn about Vic’s life? How did Vic figure out that Felix was not from West Lauderdale?
  12. In the end, what does Felix learn about his father? What happens to the batboy position? Do you consider it a happy ending? Why or why not?


Language Arts:
Write at least four letters from Felix and his father. Describe everything the other should know about each other.

Play baseball math at this website: (use with caution, content not guaranteed)

Create a memory box for Felix. Create and/or collect items that you think Felix would keep and find important. On the lid of the box explain why you included the items you did.

Listen to some contemporary Cuban music that Felix’s mother may be playing in the kitchen:
(use with caution, all lyrics and content not guaranteed appropriate)

In small groups research one of the following topics and give a short report about what you learned. Use visual aids.

Timeline of Cuba
Fidel Castro
Immigration from Cuba
Cuba and baseball
Cuban refugees
How to become a US Citizen
Wet foot, dry foot policy
Elian Gonzalez
What is daily life like in Cuba?