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Stars in the Shadows

The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934

Illustrated by Frank Morrison

About The Book

Meet Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and other baseball heroes in this unique radio broadcast reenactment of a legendary All-Star Game, marking a pivotal time in sports history.

1934, Chicago. Come step back in time to witness the best of the best Negro League players take each other on in one of the most fascinating All-Star ballgames in American history.

Using a unique radio broadcast transcript, Coretta Scott King Award Winner Charles R. Smith, Jr. has recreated this momentous event with a lively play-by-play retelling of the second annual Negro League East-West Game. Meet legendary players like Satchel Paige, Turkey Stearness, and Cool Pappa Bell, hang in the stands with the fans, and experience this exhilarating untold, true story—with a lyrical twist.

Stars in the Shadows is a must-have for any baseball aficionado or anyone interested in forgotten history. Beautifully packaged and with incredible black-and-white illustrations by Frank Morrison, this is a rare and extraordinary book.


August 26, 1934

Welcome to Chicago, welcome all!
It’s a beautiful day to play baseball.
Bright sun with not one single cloud in the sky,
a blue-curtain backdrop to watch baseballs fly.
Hello, everybody, to you from me,
Lester Roberts, on your radio on WNLB,
bringing you the play-by-play in a creative way
of the second annual Negro League East-West game

Last year’s game was fun-filled with eighteen runs,

including a cannon shot that came from

the bat of Mule Suttles, who swung his barrel chest

and arms to launch a four-bag express

into center-field stands, sending slug-happy fans

into a frenzy, making sepia hands

clap and cheer and throw hats into the air,

a heart-stopping moment for all who were there.

But that was last year—now it’s on to

the Negro League East-West Classic number two,

featuring players voted in by you,

the fans who follow this game through and through.

But before our game starts and before we do


first we will hear “Lift Every Voice and Sing,”

the Negro National Anthem, sung by the Jubilee

Singers, representing our wonderful Windy City.

What better way to start this glorious day,

so let’s listen in as they take it away.

Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark

past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the

present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

Thank you, performers, and again welcome all.

Enjoy the show, folks,

now let’s



© 2012 Charles R. Smith Jr.

About The Author

Photograph courtesy of the Author

Charles R. Smith Jr. is an acclaimed poet and the Coretta Scott King Award–winning illustrator of My People, a picture book based on the poem by Langston Hughes. He is also the illustrator of If, the author and photographer of I Am the World, and he won the Coretta Scott King Author Honor for his book Twelve Rounds To Glory. He grew up in California and attended the Brooks Institute of Photography. A magazine and book cover photographer in addition to a picture book creator, Charles lives with his wife and kids in Poughkeepsie, New York. Visit him at

About The Illustrator

Photograph © Frank Morrison

Frank Morrison is the award-winning illustrator of many books for young readers, including Jazzy Miz Mozetta, winner of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent; Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book; Muhammad Ali; and How Sweet the Sound. Before becoming a children’s book illustrator and fine artist, Morrison toured the globe as a break-dancer. He lives in Georgia with his family.

Product Details

Raves and Reviews

“Baseball fans will feel they are at the ballpark when they read this account of the second annual Negro Leagues’ East-West game. The illustrations bring to mind the past and an Author’s Note explains the origin of the game. Fan favorites included Cool Papa Bell, Jimmie Crutchfeld, Oscar Charleston, Stachel Paige, Turkey Stearnes, and Mule Suttles. This book would be a wonderful read-aloud, as students will get the feel of the broadcast even more.”—Library Media Connection

“Writing in snappy rhymed couplets, Smith delivers a play-by-play, inning-by-inning account of the second annual East-West Classic, held in Chicago in 1934, an all-star face-off between the best players from the Negro League. Working in graphite, Morrison contributes full-bleed and spot illustrations of dynamic, athletic players in motion.”—Publishers Weekly

Use this book as an exciting complement to Kadir Nelson’s We Are the Ship.”—Booklist

Awards and Honors

  • CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Award Honor Title (CA)

Resources and Downloads

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More books from this author: Charles R. Smith Jr.

More books from this illustrator: Frank Morrison