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Prize Celebrates the Best American History Book for Middle Readers, Ages 9–12

NEW YORK, NY – May 14, 2019—Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, announced today that this year’s New-York Historical’s Children’s History Book Prize will go to author Ellen Klages for Out of Left Field (Penguin Random House, 2018). The prize of $10,000 is annually awarded to the best American history book for middle readers ages 9–12, fiction or non-fiction. Klages will receive the award from Maria Pepe, one of the first young women to play Little League baseball, at a ceremony taking place on May 30 at noon at New-York Historical’s Robert H. Smith Auditorium.

Out of Left Field is a story that connects with so much of what we champion here at New-York Historical,” said Dr. Mirrer. “Its main character’s historical research unearths the forgotten contributions of women to American history—that thousands of women played for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the Bloomer Girls, and the Negro Leagues. Our jury panel admired Katy’s strength and willingness to fight back against the wrongs she witnessed in her community. We’re honored to award Ellen Klages with this year’s Children’s History Book Prize.”

Set in 1957, Katy Gordon is best pitcher in the neighborhood, and every boy knows it. But when she tries out for Little League, it’s a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy’s game and always has been. It’s not fair, and Katy’s going to fight back. Inspired by what she’s learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she’s not the only girl who plays baseball. With the help of friendly librarians and some tenacious research skills, Katy discovers the forgotten history of female ball players. Why does no one know about them? Where are they now? And how can one ten-year-old change people’s minds about what girls can do?

In addition to the prize ceremony, author Ellen Klages will join families at New-York Historical on Saturday, June 1 at 2 pm for DiMenna Children’s History Museum’s Reading into History Family Book Club. The author will answer young readers’ questions about Out of Left Field, followed by a chance for families to visit the galleries to explore artifacts related to the book. The event is free with Museum Admission. Out of Left Field is available for purchase from the NYHistory Store as well as other retailers.

The book prize was selected by a jury comprising librarians, educators, historians, and families of middle schoolers. For the third year, an online poll invited the public to cast a vote for their favorite as well. Finalists for the Children’s History Book Prize included Facing Frederick by Tonya Bolden, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, and The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis.

At the New-York Historical Society and its DiMenna Children’s History Museum, visitors are encouraged to explore history through characters and narrative. The Children’s History Book Prize is part of New-York Historical’s larger efforts on behalf of children and families. DiMenna Children’s History Museum regularly presents programs where families explore history together. At its popular monthly family book club, Reading into History, families discuss a historical fiction or non-fiction book they previously read at home, share their reactions, discover related artifacts and documents, and meet historians and authors. New-York Historical’s work with middle school readers and their families is grounded in the belief that offering creative opportunities to engage the entire family helps young readers grow and thrive.

About Ellen Klages
Ellen Klages is the author of acclaimed historical novels, The Green Glass Sea, which won the Scott O’Dell Award and the New Mexico Book Award, and White Sands, Red Menace, which won the California and New Mexico Book awards. Her story “Basement Magic” won a Nebula Award, and “Wakulla Springs,” co-authored with Andy Duncan, was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus awards, and won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella. She is a graduate of Second City’s Improv program and has a degree in philosophy from the University of Michigan. She lives in San Francisco.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history. New-York Historical is also home to the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, one of the oldest, most distinguished libraries in the nation—and one of only 20 in the United States qualified to be a member of the Independent Research Libraries Association—which contains more than three million books, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, manuscripts, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings.

About the DiMenna Children’s History Museum
The DiMenna Children’s History Museum at the New-York Historical Society presents 350 years of New York and American history through character-based pavilions, interactive exhibits and digital games, and the Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum encourages families to explore history together through permanent installations and a wide range of family learning programs for toddlers, children, and preteens.

Press Contacts
Ines Aslan |Ines.aslan@nyhistory.org | (212) 485-9263  
Marybeth Ihle | Marybeth.ihle@nyhistory.org | (212) 873-3400 ext 326

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Creative: Tronvig Group