An eye-opening look at the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball and became an American hero.
Baseball, basketball, football -- no matter the game, Jackie Robinson excelled. His talents would have easily landed another man a career in pro sports, but such opportunities were closed to athletes like Jackie for one reason: his skin was the wrong color. Settling for playing baseball in the Negro Leagues, Jackie chafed at the inability to prove himself where it mattered most: the major leagues. Then in 1946, Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, recruited Jackie Robinson. Jackie faced cruel and sometimes violent hatred and discrimination, but he proved himself again and again, exhibiting courage, determination, restraint, and a phenomenal ability to play the game. In this compelling biography, award-winning author Doreen Rappaport chronicles the extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson and how his achievements won over -- and changed -- a segregated nation.
Gr 5-8--Jackie Robinson's life has inspired a number of biographies for kids, and Rappaport (Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust; Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) adds a well-rounded and nuanced portrayal. The book examines Jack Roosevelt Robinson's life from his early years (including teenage run-ins with the law) and concludes its detailed coverage roughly 90 pages later with the World Series of 1947. The more than 20 pages of back matter tackle brief high points in Robinson's dazzling career and excellent source notes. Rappaport does not sugarcoat the challenges Robinson faced, repeating racial slurs in the text. Although Robinson sometimes lost his temper, he kept his dignity through incidents that will make readers cringe. Robinson was not welcome at team hotels. He ate many meals in restaurants separate from the team, with only manager Wendell Smith for company, and he was harassed and insulted by opposing players and occasionally by teammates as well. A discussion guide is planned and may help adults and younger readers process the prejudice and hate that Robinson endured, particularly in his childhood and early career. VERDICT An excellent biography that humanizes its legendary subject for middle schoolers.--Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Rappaport (Elizabeth Started All the Trouble) uses personal vignettes to bring to vivid life the story of the first man to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Grabbing readers' attention with lines such as, "It was 3:00 a.m., but no one in the Robinson family was sleeping," Rappaport pulls them in close to witness events that shaped baseball great Jackie Robinson. From a racist encounter with a neighbor at age eight to his time spent in the U.S. Army and the Negro Leagues, 21 short chapters tell a story of courage, self-control, and perseverance. One chapter excerpts poignant fan letters sent during Jackie's first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers: "If I can raise my boy to be half the man that you are," an admirer writes. Drawing from Robinson's autobiography and other sources, Rappaport explores some of the seminal events in Robinson's life and the ballplayer's feelings about them, ably profiling a groundbreaking athlete and "one-person civil rights movement." An author's note, timeline, extensive source notes, bibliography, and index are included. Ages 8-12. Agent: Faith Hamlin, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Sept.)Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.