Cherry Blossom Baseball


CCBC’s Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2016) — Commended

Is pretending to be someone else the only way Michiko can fit in?

Michiko Minigawa’s life is nothing but a bad game of baseball. The Canadian government swung the bat once, knocking her family away from a Vancouver home base to an old farmhouse in the Kootenay Mountains. But when they move into town, the government swings the bat again, announcing that all Japanese must now move east of the Rockies or else go to Japan.

Now in Ontario, Michiko once again has to adjust to a whole new kind of life. She is the only Japanese student in her school, and making friends is harder than it was before. When Michiko surprises an older student with her baseball skills and he encourages her to try out for the local team, she gives it a shot. But everyone thinks this new baseball star is a boy. Michiko has to make a decision: quit playing ball (and being harassed), or pitch like she’s never pitched before.


CCBC’s Best Books for Kids and Teens (Spring 2016)


Michiko is endearing, and readers who persevere will rejoice with her victories big and small.


A historically accurate story about being an outsider, family values and the ability of sports to bring people together.

School Library Journal

A fast-paced, intriguing read. Highly recommended.

Canadian Materials

Michiko is a wonderful character trying to find her place in an often racist Canada, obeying her strict but loving parents, supported by cultural traditions and fiercely passionate about baseball.

Resource Links

Maruno tells an almost uniquely Canadian story as we see how different cultural communities interact, as well as the challenges many first- and second-generation Canadians encounter, issues that are still relevant today.

Canadian Children’s Book News

About the Author

Jennifer Maruno

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
Jennifer Maruno photo

Jennifer Maruno

Jennifer Maruno is a long-time educator and author. Her debut novel, When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, was shortlisted for the Hackmatack Award and the Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers Choice Award. She lives in Burlington, Ontario.