SALISBURY, MD---Young Johnny Nichols has a dream: to play baseball for his favorite team, the Newtown Cubs. When the coach turns him down, telling him he is too small, Johnny is disappointed—but not ready to give up.
Persistence pays off for the small ballplayer in the children’s book Johnny Nichols … I Want to Play Baseball, written by Salisbury University art faculty Marie Cavallaro and illustrated by John Cleary, a prominent artist and SU faculty emeritus residing on the Eastern Shore. SU alumnus Beth Hébert provided the book’s graphics.
An exhibit of artwork used in the book hangs July 14-August 4 in the Atrium Gallery of the Guerrieri University Center. Cavallaro and Cleary are on hand for an opening reception and signing 4-6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13. The public is invited.
For Cavallaro, who wrote the story in 1987, the book was a matter of necessity: “At the age of 2 my son was involved with baseball. I ironed many numbers onto every set of baseball pajamas. Every day he would go off to nursery school suited up to play baseball. Of course, no other child his age had the same passion.
“Finding books about baseball was a real challenge. The biography of Hank Aaron was read over and over for a year and a half. Finally, this children’s book was born.
“Johnny Nichols not only touches on a love for playing baseball, but encourages good sportsmanship, persistence, family support and mere luck.”
The story served as an inspiration to Cavallaro’s son, Ian, who is now is a sports journalist. Now, other children may read about Johnny Nichols, thanks to the story’s recent release in book form.
Gallery hours are noon-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. The book, as well as original illustrations, are available for purchase during the exhibit.For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.