Jackie Robinson Stories
ABOVE: Teammates can be found in a collection of books CNN recommends for teaching children about diversity.
ABOVE: Jackie and Me is an award-winning book that is part of The Baseball Card Adventures historical fiction series available from HarperCollins.
Our non-fiction reading focus has been, not accidentally, on baseball since the new season just started. Tomorrow, April 5th, MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson, one of the players who made the game relevant to the growth of our nation away from segregation -- toward more equal opportunity. Most Americans do not claim we are all the way "there" yet, but the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the "color barrier" in the Major Leagues in 1947 has been a powerful one to share. After reading the book Teammates, by Peter Golenbock, there was a curiosity to find out more about the story around which this book mostly centers. Several students were reading another book on their own called Jackie and Me, by Dan Gutman, and were wondering and trying to connect the evens depicted in Golenbock's book to one or more of the parts on Gutman's book that they were reminded of. In fact, it was confusing for kids who were trying to figure out if Cincinnatti or Philadelphia was the scene of the event, and if the year was 1947 or 1948. There seemed to be conflicting information in the details, though the gist of the story was comparable. Indeed, one article I found on an ESPN website revealed some fascinating details on how these kinds of stories might be researched, authenticated, and -- finally -- shared in books, interviews, articles, and even on screen. Seeing all baseball players wearing the number 42 on their jerseys on April 5th is always a stirring sight, and so I wanted to take the chance to put together a blog post in which further reading could be found, inviting thoughtful reading with an eye toward how authors work to create an angle and theme that makes their story somehow new.