42 Is Not Just a Number: The Odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American Hero

by Doreen Rappaport (Author)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

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.


School Library Journal

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, TX

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

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.

Review quotes

Jackie Robinson's life has inspired a number of biographies for kids, and Rappaport adds a well-rounded and nuanced portrayal...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. An excellent biography that humanizes its legendary subject for middle schoolers.
—School Library Journal

Rappaport uses personal vignettes to bring to vivid life the story of the first man to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball...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."
—Publishers Weekly

Rappaport offers an engaging account of the man's life and presents enough background information about American racism during the 1930s and 1940s to help young readers understand the depth of his courage and the magnitude of his achievement as "a one-person civil rights movement."
—Booklist

Brevity and accessibility...don't mean lightweight coverage: Rappaport slams down hard on the vicious opponents and rival fans...This is an excellent companion title to his daughter Sharon Robinson's Promises to Keep (BCCB 4/04).
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

In Doreen Rappaport's 42 Is Not Just a Number, Jackie Robinson shows the world his incredible skills and character.
—HuffPost

This skillfully written biography uses anecdotes and well-chosen details to draw readers into the life of an extraordinary athlete and a courageous American who helped transform his country and his sport.
—Providence Journal

Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), one of the best baseball players in history, is most remembered as the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball when he took the field as first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. This biography covers Robinson's early years, beginning when Jackie was eight years old and one of five siblings being raised by his mother in California.
—Literacy Daily
Doreen Rappaport
Doreen Rappaport has written numerous award-winning books for children, including Freedom Ship and The School Is Not White (both illustrated by Curtis James); Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book illustrated by Bryan Collier; and John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon, also illustrated by Bryan Collier.

Bryan Collier's first book, Uptown, published in 2000, received a Coretta Scott King (CSK) Illustrator Award, as well as an Ezra Jack Keats Award. The same year, Freedom River, which he illustrated, received a CSK Illustrator Honor Award. He is the illustrator of Martin's Big Words, for which he received his first Caldecott Honor Award and a CSK Honor Award. He received his second Caldecott Honor Award in 2006, as well as another CSK Award for Rosa, written by Nikki Giovanni. He is also a New York Times bestseller with Barack Obama, written by Nikki Grimes, which reached the #1 spot in picture books during its 20 weeks on the list and received a 2009 NAACP Image Award for Best Children's Book, and has illustrated many other acclaimed, award-winning titles.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780763676247
Lexile Measure
1010L
Guided Reading Level
X
Publisher
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
September 20, 2017
Series
-

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