You will not be defining vocabulary words for this book. Instead, you will be answering the folowing questions about the book. Make sure you write a short paragraph (5 sentences) for each question. You can write the answers on your wiki, or you can write them out on paper.

Critical Thinking:

  1. Who are the “Official Persons” Carlos refers to? Why does he want to be paid off the books at his job? What does “off the books” mean?
  2. How many people know the truth about Michael’s father? Are there any laws these people are breaking by keeping the secret? Are Michael and Carlos breaking laws?
  3. How does Michael’s age come to be questioned? Does race have anything to do with the allegations that he’s older than he says he is?
  4. Why doesn’t Michael have the paperwork he needs? How important are documents like birth certificates in the lives of people in his community?
  5. How does Carlos begin to make money after he gets laid off? What dangers or risks are associated with the job he takes?
  6. Why can’t Mrs. Cora adopt Carlos and Michael? Why are Carlos and Michael so afraid of social workers and family services?
  7. Why is Yankee Stadium described as being “worlds away”, even though it is less than 100 yards from Michael’s home?

Chapter Questions

  1. Is Michael the only child in the Bronx that gets nervous around authority figures, or when he has to answer prodding questions? Why not? Contrast Michael’s suspicion of local authority with the suspicion shown by other people in his neighborhood.
  2. Why is Carlos so afraid of Michael entering “the spotlight”? Do Carlos and Michael’s plans interfere with Michael’s chances of becoming successful in baseball? Is there anything else that interferes with Michael’s chance at success?
  3. Who is El Grande and what does he represent to Michael and Carlos? Is the real El Grande anything like the El Grande they envision?
  4. Do the other people in Michael’s neighborhood and on his Little League team suspect the truth about Michael and Carlos? How can you tell?
  5. Why doesn’t Justin from Westchester get called out of the game after he throws the ball at Michael’s head? Would Michael have also avoided consequences for the same lack of sportsmanship? Why or why not?
  6. The character of Michael is partially based on Danny Almonte, a Dominican Little League player from the Bronx who was discovered to have been two years older than his parents claimed he was. Research the Almonte case and compare it to Michael’s story. What do the two stories have in common? What do these stories say about immigration? What do they say about children that end up in “the spotlight”?