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Jackie's Bat

by Marybeth Lorbiecki
Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2006
32 pages
ISBN: 0689841027

Ages 5-8

Joey is the batboy for the Brooklyn Dodgers. The year is 1947, and a new player named Jackie Robinson has joined the team. While Joey takes great pride in his work for all of the other players, he does as little as he can for Jackie. “Pop says it ain’t right, a white boy serving a black man.” Joey’s attitude at the start of the season is something the boy soon begins to regret as he observes Jackie both on and off the field. Not only is Jackie a great player, but he works as hard as anyone and “and doesn’t ask for no favors.” By season’s end, Joey has developed great admiration for Jackie as a player and as a man, but he knows there is a huge divide between the two of them—-one that Joey is responsible for because of the way he treated Jackie at the start of the season. How can he let Jackie know his thoughts and feelings have changed? Marybeth Lorbiecki takes an honest look at racism and bigotry through the experiences of one young boy who reconsiders what he’s been taught to believe once he begins to see the way things really are and to think for himself. Her story integrates many historical details surrounding Jackie Robinson’s first year with the Dodgers, including the shocking behavior among many baseball players and fans toward the African American player. Brian Pinkney’s expressive watercolor illustrations feature many period details. His figures, full of energy and movement, are set against softly colored backgrounds that further evoke a sense of the past. (MS) ©2006 Cooperative Children’s Book Center


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