“Told in a voice that is so real it reeks of filched peaches, this book is a home run.” —Amy Sarig King, Printz Award–winning author of Dig and The Year We Fell from Space
Sandlot meets Esperanza Rising in this lyrical middle grade novel set in the 1930s about a strong-willed girl who finds her voice in a tale of moxie, peaches, and determination to thrive despite the odds.
When the skies dried up, Gloria thought it was temporary. When the dust storms rolled in, she thought they would pass. But now the bank man’s come to take the family farm, and Pa’s decided to up and move to California in search of work. They’ll pick fruit, he says, until they can save up enough money to buy land of their own again.
There are only three rules at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard: No stealing product. No drunkenness or gambling. And absolutely no organizing.
Well, Gloria Mae Willard isn’t about to organize any peaches, no ma’am. She’s got more on her mind than that. Like the secret, all-boys baseball team she’s desperate to play for, if only they’d give her a chance. Or the way that wages keep going down. The way their company lodgings are dirty and smelly, and everyone seems intent on leaving her out of everything.
But Gloria has never been the type to wait around for permission. If the boys won’t let her play, she’ll find a way to make them. If the people around her are keeping secrets, then she’ll keep a few of her own. And if the boss men at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard say she can’t organize peaches, then by golly she’ll organize a whole ball game.
About the Author
Skyler Schrempp writes books and makes theatre in her hometown, Chicago. She lives in an old drafty house with her husband, Kyle, her daughter,Elowen, and a black cat named Masha. She got her undergrad at Hampshire College and has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing you can find her making jam from the berries that grow in her backyard or building a fire in her fireplace (depending on the season). You can visit her at SkylerSchrempp.com.
* "Searing." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Gloria’s forthright narration showcases her tenacity and burning sense of injustice, which transforms her parents’ resignation into resolve, providing an admirable maturation arc alongside a vividly rendered, emotionally vulnerable account of the harsh conditions faced by migrant workers." — Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Schrempp’s writing is thoughtful and accessible, containing richly developed characters—Gloria is outspoken and determined yet teachable; her family, resilient. Even her nemesis is well-rounded. Readers will applaud Gloria and the workers while gaining understanding of a time that extends far beyond sepia-toned stills. This moving tale breathes life, depth, and color into the era." — Booklist, starred review
"Gloria Willard is one of a kind—she won my whole heart and her story will stay with me for a long time. Touching, informative, and edge-of-your-seat, this novel about a family traveling west during the Dust Bowl is a captivating must-read. Told in a voice that is so real it reeks of filched peaches, this book is a home run."
— Amy Sarig King, Michael L. Printz Award winning author of Dig and The Year We Fell From Space
"Skyler Schrempp’s debut novel is as fiery-fast and dead on-target as one of Gloria Mae's fastballs. In a Depression Era Dust Bowl setting so well rendered you can feel the dust gritting in your clothes, the dangers in Three Strike Summer—environmental disaster, worker exploitation, and the power of the wealthy to rig the system—will feel keenly relevant to modern readers. Gloria’s quest to pitch on the orchard’s secret baseball team is one we root for (heck yeah!) but as Gloria would tell you, it turns out a true win is about more than that. It is about a whole team (and community) standing up and sticking together. A heart-felt, wallop-packing, winner of a novel kids will find both inspiring and empowering. — Linda Urban, award winning author of A Crooked Kind of Perfect
"Three Strike Summer by Skyler Schrempp is a stirring debut that will tug at readers’ heart strings, make them breathless with excitement, and have them cheering at the end. Told in an authentic voice that always rings true, Three Strike Summer tells the story Gloria, whose family is forced off their land in Oklahoma, only to become migrant farm workers in California. Gloria has one great wish in her life—be a baseball player. But she faces gender discrimination when the migrant boys won’t let her on the team. To get the chance to play, she has to prove to the boys—and to her father—that she’s every bit as good as they are. Full of rich historical description, bone-aching grief, and laugh out loud humor, this novel is a delight to the ear as well as the heart. Skyler Schrempp is a stunning new voice in the world of children’s literature."
— David Macinnis Gill, author of Shadow on the Sun
This title is a solid addition to Great Depression historical fiction, as told from the perspective of a strong-willed girl with a lot of spunk. — School Library Journal
Gr 3-7–Schrempp takes us back to a tough time for Americans—even those who were not girls trying to play baseball. Gloria Mae Wilson is a farmer’s daughter who has a great arm and is itching to play baseball with the boys in her small Oklahoma town. When area dust storms finally cinch the farm’s bankruptcy, the family packs up and heads west to find work in California. Luckily for Gloria, the kids at the Santa Ana Holdsten Peach Orchard, where her family gets jobs, have an underground baseball game against Michelson’s Apricot Grove next door. Will Gloria finally get a chance to pitch? Or will family and standing up for what’s right keep her off the field? This title is a solid addition to Great Depression historical fiction, as told from the perspective of a strong-willed girl with a lot of spunk. The characters are all white, and while the author’s note does reference how foreign-born immigrants fit into this period in history, it is disappointing that no characters of color make an appearance.
VERDICT An enjoyable read for a niche group, it lacks wide appeal. Recommended for large collections where Great Depression historical fiction is popular. — School Library Journal