A young girl who feels herself an outsider finds a mentor and friend in Jackie Robinson.
Grossinger tells of growing up at her relatives’ famous Catskills hotel, where she often felt overlooked, awkward, lonely and self-conscious. She was generally uninterested in the celebrities who visited the hotel, but the idea of meeting her hero, Jackie Robinson, was tremendously exciting, even though she was too shy to join in the greetings and photos. A kept promise, a game of pingpong and heart-to-heart talks led to a friendship that lasted for as long as Robinson lived. Through visits and letters, he helped her feel pride in her accomplishments; “Never give up” was his clarion call, and she took it to heart. As she grew older, she came to recognize how deeply he was affected by the difficulties of those early years and how his spirit and kindness inspired her. Grossinger tells her story simply, recalling those long-ago events with fondness and love in text that has the appearance of diary entries. Eye-catching, large-scale close-ups of Robinson and the author as a girl on bright, color-washed backgrounds placed on full- and double-page spreads neatly complement the text. Not always accurate in their depiction of Robinson, they nonetheless capture his personality with warmth.
A lovely evocation of a man who changed baseball and America. (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)