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Perfect Game

Available in hardback, paperback and ebook.

"Perfect Game is about the important lessons sports can teach: How to play for the love of the game."

-Tim Shriver, Chairman and CEO, Special Olympics

The Story

Isaac is a serious pitcher. He’s got an awesome fastball and a sneaky changeup. He’s determined to pitch a perfect game: no hits, no runs, no walks, and no errors. He gets close a couple of times, but then a batter gets on base and Isaac totally loses his cool on the mound. He gets so mad that his pitches start missing their mark and he can’t get his head back in the game. Then Isaac learns about a Special Olympics Unified Sports team and meets an interesting athlete who shows him a new way to think about being perfect.

Common Core Lesson Plans and More

Common Core Lesson Plan (142 KB)

Created by Cindy Wrenn, former Principal, Signal Hill E. S., VA

Short lesson on Special Olympics Connection in Perfect Game (108 KB)

Writing Prompts/Discussion Questions based on Special Olympics Unified Sports handbook

Short Lesson on the word "retarded" in Perfect Game (94.6 KB)

Uses scenes from the story and other resources to help students understand and explore the hurtfulness of the word.

The History Weaved into the Plot

Twenty-three major league pitchers have thrown a perfect game – 27 straight outs. Some perfect games were thrown by Hall of Famers such as Cy Young, Sandy Koufax and Jim “Catfish” Hunter. But many not-so-great pitchers such as Dallas Braden, Don Larsen and the first man to ever throw a perfect game, Lee Richmond, have thrown perfect games too.

The Special Olympics Unified Sports program started in the 1980s as a way for its athletes and other kids to play and compete together on the same teams. . Now, more than 550,000 Special Olympics athletes and partners play many different sports all over the world. Best of all, by playing sports together, the athletes and partners become teammates and friends.

The Story Behind the Story

Perfect Game is a very important book for me. Ten years ago I decided to write about a kid who was determined to be the perfect pitcher. In my story, he was so determined that he couldn't accept anything less than perfection. Then he was invited to play on a weekend basketball team that was a mix of Special Olympics players and others kids like him. That experience changed his whole attitude about being perfect. But ten years ago, I just couldn't get the story right. Something just didn't ring true. Last year, however, I decided to give it another try. I started out by doing a lot more research. On weekends, I watched Special Olympics Unified Sports teams practice and compete in the gyms at Blessed Sacrament School in Washington, DC, and Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland. I got to know some of the organizers and players and families. That experience became part of Perfect Game and enriched my life. And this is a very different book than my first draft so many years ago. And one that I like a whole lot more.