A pre–MLB biography of Jackie Robinson that focuses on his passion for justice and early encounters with injustice.
Beginning with Jack (not yet called Jackie) Robinson’s childhood, Bardhan-Quallen outlines some of the discrimination Jack faced: once-a-week segregated swimming times, being the only—and unwanted—black family on their street, and being denied sports opportunities despite excelling, all due to racism. These early life experiences, along with Jack’s mother’s lessons “to stand up for what was right, even when that was difficult to do,” are presented as the foundation that helped Jack cultivate the courage and bravery needed to endure the trials to come. When Jack enrolled in the Army, he chafed against the prevalent racism. After segregation was outlawed in the military, not everyone listened, and when Jack refused to move to the back of a post bus, he was verbally abused and arrested. Though innocent, Jack was court-martialed. He won but decided to leave the Army and “took a job in Kansas City, and then another in Montreal. And in 1947, Jack went to work in Brooklyn, New York.” Christie’s naïve paintings give Robinson’s story emotive heft while painting him as an Everyman, working with the text to immerse readers in Robinson’s life before baseball.
Powerfully illustrates that this groundbreaking American icon’s commitment to equality did not begin or end with baseball—his courage was a lifelong trait. (timeline, author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)