A heartfelt and relatable novel from Phil Bildner, weaving the real history of Los Angeles Dodger and Oakland Athletic Glenn Burke--the first professional baseball player to come out as gay--into the story of a middle-school kid learning to be himself.
When sixth grader Silas Walker does a school presentation on former Major League Baseball player Glenn Burke, it’s more than just a report on the inventor of the high five. Burke was a black gay baseball player in the 1970s—and for Silas, the presentation is his own first baby step toward coming out as gay.
Soon he tells his best friend Zoey, but the longer he keeps his secret from his baseball teammates, the more he suspects they know something’s up. Kids get pulled from the team, fingers point at Silas, and he stages one big cover-up with terrible consequences. Was it a mistake to share his truth?
A High Five for Glenn Burke is Phil Bildner’s most personal novel yet, and drives home the message that there’s no one way to come out—and there’s a place in the field for everyone.
About the Author
Phil Bildner is a former New York City public school teacher who lives in Newburgh, New York. The author of many books, including Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans and The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope, and Apartheid in South Africa, Phil is a frequent speaker at conferences and travels to over sixty schools a year.
“The story. . .speaks to the importance of creating a welcoming community—whether on a baseball field or in a classroom—that embraces differences with not only tolerance but also complete and unrelenting support. An essential book for all readers, not just baseball fans, about friendship, acceptance, and self-confidence.” —Booklist, starred review
“Beleaguered tolerance strikes out; loud, proud love wins the game.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[A] compassionate, well-written story.” —School Library Journal
“Silas is an engaging narrator, slipping easily and honestly between accounts of his public bravado, his understandable trepidation of worst-case scenario fallout, and his private adoption of a role model in Burke, who both represents Silas’ dilemma and cries out for vindication. Bildner’s closing acknowledgments disclose that Silas’ struggle was also his own, tacitly reassuring readers that, yep, things actually can get better.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“In giving Burke a place to shine, this book is worthy of several high fives, forearm bashes, chest bumps, daps, and any other celebrations baseball players invent as the game continues to advance." —OutSports.com
“I highly recommend A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner, a terrific fictional story invoking the outfielder from the 1970s who wound up being a trailblazer.” —Ken Davidoff, New York Post
“Silas is a realistic middle-grade hero—a baseball-obsessed kid trying to find his place in the world. Readers will love him, just as I do.” —Erin Entrada Kelly, Newbery Medal-winning author of Hello, Universe
“A home run of a middle grade novel—a crackerjack story about the love and acceptance that everyone deserves.” —Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak
“Fires a fastball over the center of the plate and into the hearts of readers. As necessary as it is fun.” —C. Alexander London, author of the Dog Tags series and the Skybound Saga