Picture Book Biography -
Catching the Moon
The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream
Written by Crystal Hubbard Illustrator Randy DuBurke

This inspiring picture book biography plants the seed - dreams can be achieved.  Marcenia Lyle's dream changed the way people saw women and how they saw the color of her skin.

She didn't let the opinions of others hold her back from the game she loved - the game of baseball.

It begins...

Marcenia Lyle loved baseball.

She loved the powdery taste of dust clouds as she slid through them.  She loved the way the sun heated her hair as she crouched in the outfield waiting for fly balls.  And she loved the sting in her palm as a baseball slammed into it, right before tagging a runner out.

If there was anything in the world better than baseball, Marcenia didn't know what it was.  She dreamed of growing up to be a professional ballplayer, so she could play all the time.

Summary & Description - Picture Book Biography

And she did!  Marcenia Lyle will continue to inspire children as well as adults to strive for their dreams.  It may not be easy and take a lot of hard work, but dreams are worth it.

Marcenia grew up playing baseball with the boys in her neighborhood.  One day Gabby Street, the manager for the St. Louis Cardinals, showed up looking for kids to attend a free baseball camp.

At first Gabby told Marcenia she couldn't attend the camp because she was a girl.  Marcenia didn't let that stop her, but allowed it to motivate her to prove her worth and prove him wrong.  And she did!

When Marcenia's family didn't have enough money to buy her cleats, Gabby made them a gift to her.  Her father agreed to let her play; Marcenia was on her way to making her dream to play professional baseball come true!  And she did!

What I love about Catching the Moon

  • This picture book biography will inspire kids to be all they can be and not be limited by the opinions of others.
  • The humbleness of Marcenia shines through even though she was very gifted athletically.
  • Gabby Street was a man caring and supporting children no matter what color their skin.
  • Dreams don't just magically happen.  Marcenia worked hard to prove herself.
  • Marcenia's thinking is positive as she strives for her dream.  She doesn't latch on to the negative thoughts of others.
  • Most of all....Marcenia played the game because she loved & enjoyed it!

Enhance Development 

  • Take time to listen:  Allow your kids to talk about their dreams or something love to do.  Take time to hear them share.  Listening says "You matter!"  It also allows a child to practice speaking in front of others.
  • Fiction vs. Non Fiction:  A picture book biography is an ideal tool to teach children the difference between fiction and non fiction books.  They tell a story, but they tell a true story.
  • Overcoming:  Over the years expectations for little girls and boys have changed as well as for minorities.  What once seemed impossible, has now become the norm.  This book shares how the expectations and judgements of others can harm and limit, and yet this picture book biography also shares how even these can be overcome.  Take time to discuss how these have changed and have children share expectations they see today.
  • Social development:  Gabby Street changed his opinion because of Marcenia's perseverance.  Discuss what things Gabby did to help Marcenia achieve her goal.  Ask kids who in their lives encourage and support their dreams and how.
  • Emotional development:  Talk about Marcenia's disappointments and joys.  Discuss how she may have felt and how she moved beyond emotions and didn't give up or how her love for the game spurred on to work even harder.
  • Let your child "be" Marcenia as you read; let them read all her spoken parts as you read the rest.  Or take turns reading the speaking parts of characters using voices like them such as Papa may use a deep slow voice and Marcenia may speak in a hurried excited voice.  Become the book characters.

"Marcenia Lyle never lost her passion for baseball or her dream of playing professionally.  In 1937, at the age of sixteen, she began her career as a pitcher with the Twin Cities Colored Giants."  - Afterward

Marcenia was known as "Toni Stone" in the baseball world and lived from 1921-1996.

The Message

How often do our youth hear the words "You can't" or feel limitations put on their dreams?  This picture book biography shouts "Don't give up! Go for your dreams!" 

One of my favorite Bible verses that goes well with this book is found in Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."

Marcenia was a little girl with a big dream.  Along the way, others came along side her and helped her move toward her dream through encouragement and making a way where there didn't seem to be a way.  She learned it's okay to be different and unique and not just like the crowd.

This picture book biography encourages us to believe - believe in ourselves, believe in others, believe in a dream.

Another way this book spoke to me personally was how we as adults have the power to impact a child's life.  What we do may seem small to us, but you never know when God may use what we do to make the way for a child to become all he or she was meant to be.

Gabby Street said yes to a little girl and bought her a pair of cleats.  Small in the hands of our big God can change a life or maybe even the world!

Unique 'Beyond the Read' Activities

  • Make a nontraditional dream catcher.  Have kids write their dream in the center of a paper plate and decorate it.  Give them smaller pieces of papers of different shapes on which to write ideas of things they can do now to begin moving toward their dream.  Use colorful pieces of yarn to hang these from the bottom of the plate.  Encourage them to hang these so they will see them when they may need encouragement.

Marcenia's may have included:

Dream: Play professional baseball

  1. Practice baseball several times a week.
  2. Play on a baseball team.
  3. Ask someone to help me with baseball skills.
  4. Read a book about a famous baseball player.
  5. Talk to Papa & Mama about my dream.