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First in the Field: Baseball Hero Jackie Robinson

by Derek T. Dingle

Published by Hyperion, 1998
48 pages
ISBN: 0-7868-2289-9

Ages 7 - 12

There have been several biographies written for young readers about Jackie Robinson in recent years but Derek T. Dingle offers a unique perspective with this slender volume that combines appealing graphics and engaging prose. Every page includes at least one documentary photograph to give children a sense of the times in which Robinson lived, in addition to pictures of the subject himself, from infancy to retirement. Beginning with Robinson's two childhood heroes -- Joe Louis and his own older brother, Mack Robinson, himself an Olympic Medal winner -- we learn about the development of this gifted young athlete who excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track at UCLA; who demonstrated his leadership ability and commitment to social justice while serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II; and who learned a lot about baseball while playing for the Kansas City Monarchs after the War, competing against great players such as Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige. The text places Jackie Robinson in the context of social history, so that today's children can see the obstacles he faced in his life and his career. While the author obviously admires Jackie Robinson and his accomplishments a great deal, he avoids sentimentalizing or diefying him, allowing instead for the facts to speak for themselves. CCBC categories: Biography and Autobiography (KTH; Sept 7)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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