Glenn Burke, Game Changer : The Man Who Invented the High Five

$18.99 USD

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An inspiring picture book biography about Los Angeles Dodger Glenn Burke, the first professional baseball player to come out as gay, and the story of how he created the high five.

As a rookie baseball player on the Los Angeles Dodgers, Glenn Burke could do it all—hit, throw, catch, score. As a teammate, he was the heart of the clubhouse; he made fellow players laugh and energized them with his enthusiasm. In fact, his habit of congratulating his teammates led Burke to invent the high five—a spontaneous overhand slap that has evolved into an international gesture of connection, unity, and support.

But despite creating such a joyful symbol, Burke wasn’t always given support in return. As a Black gay man, he faced prejudice and obstacles almost everywhere he went, putting his career at stake and making his everyday life difficult. Glenn Burke, Game Changer recognizes this hardship while celebrating how Glenn’s bravery and his now-famous handshake paved the way for others to live openly, truly, and freely.

Phil Bildner is a former New York City public school teacher who lives in Newburgh, New York. The author of many books, including A High Five for Glenn BurkeMarvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans, and The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope, and Apartheid in South Africa, He is a frequent speaker at conferences and travels to more than sixty schools a year.


Daniel J. O’Brien (he/him) is a Trinidadian-born author and illustrator currently residing in New York with his fantastic partner, Ashleigh, and his loyal but nervous dog, Obbie. He holds a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts, and has written, illustrated, designed, and self-published two children’s books, The Carnival Prince and I Am the Midnight Robber, both projects near and dear as they represent his Caribbean heritage. He is also the illustrator of The Talking Mango Tree, The Masquerade Dance, and the forthcoming picture book Juneteenth

 “Following up his middle-grade novel A High Five for Glenn Burke, Bildner pens a picture-book biography about a remarkable gay Black baseball player . . . O’Brien’s illustrations, opaque and with highly defined detail, are both imposing and intimate, and they move readers through Burke’s trials and triumphs. Bildner’s honest and weighty text is balanced by spreads full of motion, whether figures round bases or connect with high-fives. A bittersweet legacy now accessible to younger readers and sports fans.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Portraying the athlete as someone who ‘could change the game,’ Bildner conveys Burke’s high energy . . . O’Brien’s distinctive use of composition and saturated palette lend cinematic appeal to this affecting story.” —Publishers Weekly

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