The Hurricanes of Weakerville - Blog Tour


All his life, Alex Weakerman has had one passion: baseball. Specifically, the Hurricanes of Weakerville, Iowa—the scrappy independent-league team owned by his Grandpa Ira.

Even as team and the town have fallen on tough times, there's no place Alex would rather be than at the ballpark—a hot dog in one hand, a pencil and scorebook in the other, keeping track of each and every statistic. Alex has never been all that great at playing baseball, but that doesn’t matter. For someone as painfully awkward as Alex, being a fan—and a wiz with baseball stats—is all he needs.

When Grandpa Ira passes away, though, Alex is crushed. He's lost his best friend, and he doesn’t see any way that the team will survive. But Ira, it seems, has one last trick up his sleeve: his will names Alex the new manager of the Hurricanes.

Alex is as excited as he is terrified at the chance to finally put some of his fantasy baseball genius to use. But as he sets to work trying to win over the players, he soon learns that leading them to victory is about more than just stats. Will he be able to save his team, his hometown, and his family legacy?

From the author of The Fourth Stall, a SCBWI Sid Fleischman Humor Award winner and multiple state-award favorite, The Hurricanes of Weakerville is sure to appeal to middle grade readers looking for a funny book about real kids.

My love runs deep for a feel good baseball story. 

The way that Chris creates the flow of the story from start to finish reminded me so much of sitting down and hearing a story from a grandparent at a young age; the kind that you get puppy dog eyes for, you can't turn away - you want answers, but you don't want it to stop at the same time because it feels so good to be a part of something so genuine. 

The main character in the story, Alex, is experiencing a lot that students in the middle grades are also experiencing. The primary emotion that I know I hung on to was his grief over the loss of his grandpa. The sadness that one would have over a loss isn't as evident as you might think, but when a loved one is dealing with cancer and it's only progressing, you're actually dealing with the high emotion for quite some time. (I've had students who had specifically asked for a book with the C word in it, and also some who specifically want to stay away after losing someone close - so definitely a trigger warning to ensure kids know is there)

The family has owned the Weakerville Hurricanes for over a century, and Alex and Grandpa Ira shared this love for baseball and this team pretty deeply. When Grandpa passes, there's obviously a moment of pause unsure of how to proceed with the team, and life in general, but Alex then inherits all of his Grandpa's old scorecards...with annotations on them. Grandpa Ira's handwriting, his personality, his memory all shining through on these score cards and giving Alex a more in depth look at who Ira truly was. Not as Grandpa, but as Ira. What was his heart like? How did he truly take care of the Weakerville Hurricanes? With issues he faced, his empathy prevailed.

Alex then learns that the team is owned currently by a distant relative named Tex who plans to disband the team and tear down the stadium, the only way to save the Hurricanes and his Grandpa's legacy is to win the playoffs. A lot of issues arise along the way, which is how are adults going to listen to a 7th grade manager? 

There's a lot of baseball jargon, and more specifically the backend of baseball and managing a team. Which I personally loved and can't wait to share with my son, but if a kid doesn't know much about baseball, may need a crash course before diving in! 

Overall: 5 stars. A wonderful middle grade story that is one for the keeps. So many underlying themes to discuss. Teaching points: the writing structure, plot development, character arcs, themes, humor in writing. 

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Chris Rylander is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling “Fourth Stall” saga, the “Codename Conspiracy” trilogy, and co-author of book three in the New York Times bestselling “House of Secrets” series. He lives in Chicago, where he eats a lot of raspberry jam and frequently tries to befriend the squirrels on his block.

The Hurricanes of Weakerville Blog Tour 

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